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.

Topics: gm, nissan, leasing

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