Low-cost leases push plug-in sales of GM, Nissan to record highs

Article by Anita Panait, on September 9, 2013

General Motors and Nissan Motor Co. both logged record plug-in vehicle sales in August 2013, owing primarily to their low-cost leases. The carmakers’ sales in the first eight months of 2013 are effectively higher than in full year 2012. GM posted an 18-percent rise in sales of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in sedan in August 2013 to 3,351 units.

On the other hand, Nissan was able to triple deliveries of its Leaf EV in the month to 2,420 units. According to data compiled by Bloomberg and Autodata Corp., carmakers sold 57,976 plug-in and plug-in hybrids in the first eight months of 2013, compared to 51,938 units in full year 2012.

The sudden surge in sales of EV in the US is boosted by cheap leases and price cuts as GM, Nissan and Honda Motor Co. are now offerings monthly plug-in leases of $199 to $299. Toyota Motor Corp. recently joined in August, offering a lease of $299 a month deal for RAV4 EV, allowing it to pose a sales record last month.

Kevin Tynan, an analyst for Bloomberg Industries, remarked that EV sales have become “a matter of how much money [carmakers are] going to throw at it," noting that there is “no great change” in the product or the market. He noted that offering low-cost leases is “how you get people into the showroom to look at it." The Volt (14,994) outsold the Leaf (14,123) in the first eight months of 2013.

Sales of electric-drive cars and light trucks in the US surged 28 percent in the first eight months of 2013 to at least 399,070, Bloomberg and Autodata data show. Prices of such vehicles range from $30,000 to more than $100,000. The Toyota Prius continues to lord over electric-drive cars and light truck segment, with sales of 248,134 this year. Prius logged a 30-percent rise in sales in August to 27,358 units.

The all-new Toyota RAV4 EV is the result of a special partnership with Tesla Motors prodded by Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation. Twenty-two months after the project reveal, the ingenious engineers of Toyota and Tesla have triumphed in putting up an extraordinary product to the public in record time.

Toyota RAV4 EV merges the Tesla- designed and manufactured battery and electric powertrain with Toyota's most prominent SUV model. The joint team had its sights on heightening the consumer experience. From cutting-edge charging options to interior comfort to state-of-the-art displays, the car has been intended for maximum customer convenience and optimal car range.

The front wheel drive of the Toyota RAV4 EV enables drivers to choose from two distinguishable contrasting drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, the vehicle achieves 0-60 mph in only 7.0 seconds and has a top speed of 100 mph. Normal mode reaches 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 85 mph. Optimal production from the electric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW) at 2,800 rpm.

Toyota RAV4 EV presents an extraordinarily sleek, serene ride and premium handling due to its low coefficient of drag and low center of gravity. In fact, at 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV accomplishes the least coefficient of drag of any SUV on the planet.

Contrasted with the gas powered RAV4, Toyota renovated the front bumper, upper and lower grille, side mirrors, rear spoiler, and under body display to optimize air flow around the car. The RAV4 EV's battery pack is mounted low and to the center of the car, adding to a more sedan-like ride.

Topics: gm, nissan, leasing

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