The top-selling rechargeable vehicle in the U.S. in May is the Chevrolet Volt from General Motors Co. It is trailed by the plug-in Prius of Toyota Motor Corp. and the all-electric Leaf hatchback of Nissan Motor Co. From only 481 Volts sold a year ago, sales of the GM plug-in sedan increased by over three times to 1,680 units.
The Prius version that was presented in March had racked up sales of 1,086 units. Meanwhile, Leaf sales fell by 55% to 510 cars. The Volt’s sales climbed after GM experienced a short stop in its production as inventory increased and as sales slowed down after reported incidents of battery packs catching fire after crash tests.
In April, production resumed with structural reinforcements that assure safety as well as revisions that made the Volt eligible for rebates and carpool lane access in California, which is the biggest market for rechargeable vehicles. Al Castignetti, the vice president of Nissan’s North American sales, said that Leaf sales have declined during the last couple of months as the company made changes on the strategies for selling the car, which is now offered in 50 states in the U.S.
He explained that there are “huge dispersion issues.” He said that dealerships have “pretty good” inventories but then there are states where no Leaf has ever been sold. Leaf sales grew by an average of 73 miles (117 kilometers) a charge, rising to at least 1,000 a month by July. The best-selling rechargeable car this year is still the Volt, which could be driven by a minimum of 35 miles on lithium-ion battery power before a gasoline engine kicks in.
The Volt had sales of 7,057 units for sales through May. However, this figure increased by more than three times to 7,057 units. On the other hand, 3,638 plug-in Priuses were sold for the same figure while just 2,613 Leafs were sold.