Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf: Sales Flop – Updated Monthly

Posted on Mar 8 2011 - 1:00am by Harrison

This article will be updated monthly with sales of the Volt and Leaf.

No matter how much Liberals talk up electric cars and their future the fact is nobody really wants to actually own one.  Chevrolet’s Volt sold a whopping 281 units in February 2011 and Nissan’s Leaf sold 67 copies.  By comparison, Honda sells, on average, more than 5,500 Fits per month and Ford sold 23,111 Fusions.

For March Chevy moved 608 Volts and Nissan sold 298 Leafs.

For April Chevy moved 493 Volts and Nissan sold 573 Leafs.

For May Chevy moved 481 Volts and Nissan sold 1,142 Leafs.

For June Chevy moved 561 Volts and Nissan sold 1,708 Leafs.

For July Chevy moved 125 Volts and Nissan sold 931 Leafs.

For August Chevy moved 302 Volts and Nissan sold 1,362 Leafs.

For September Chevy moved 723 Volts and Nissan sold 1,302 Leafs.

For October Chevy moved 1,108 Volts and Nissan sold 849 Leafs.

For November Chevy moved 1,139 Volts and Nissan sold 672 Leafs.

Obligatory Excel graph of sales:

How they're selling.

Now is about the time where a Liberal would tell you that the American consumer “doesn’t understand” why they need a Volt or Leaf or how Americans can’t make “intelligent decisions” about which cars they buy.  Environmentalists will chime in saying how Americans “misunderstand” the technology behind the Volt and the Leaf.  President Obama will tell how how those two cars are the “future.”

Chevrolet, which initially planned on making 60,000 Volts [Correction: 10,000-15,000 was the initial number] has revised their production numbers to only 10,000 but, at the rate they’re selling, that’s still 50% optimistic.

With all of the billions of dollars the government pumped into Chevrolet, is it really a surprise that car is such a failure?  “Yes we can” has really become a catchphrase for “We won’t succeed” because whenever the best and brightest minds of government get together you never know how far down the ladder of failure you will fall.

The sad reality of it all is that the electric car was killed by the gasoline car nearly a century ago and it should have stayed dead.  Nissan was so concerned before the Leaf came out that they were actually training their sales people to dissuade potential customers from buying one because the fear was the car wouldn’t fit their lifestyle.

To own an electric car you cannot be poor living paycheck to paycheck because gas prices are eating your monthly budget alive.  Electric cars are meant to “combat” high fuel prices because they apparently only cost pennies per mile to charge.  Of course, you need to have a place to plug in your car every night and most poor people don’t have that.  So you have to possess a certain income in order to be able to save money on “fuel.”  And people with this type of income don’t want to own a glamorized golf cart that can simply stop running because you’ve driven more than 60 miles.

Electric cars don’t make sense economically because cheaper and better gasoline and diesel vehicles exist which can let you drive to distant places 30 miles away and back.  But a bunch of bureaucrats with slide rules and political agendas kicking back in conference rooms with lattes don’t care about things such as real world needs.

They want to fit their square ideas into the round hole of life and they think if they just throw your taxpayer dollars at the situation somehow things will fit together.

The wonderful thing about a free market economy is that if a great enough need exists, someone will try and make a buck filling that desire.

Who thought people wanted a Salad Shooter or a Bedazzler?  Apparently enough people had that itch or we wouldn’t be seeing these advertisements on television.

Greeners will tell us to wait… the electric car is the future.  They will tell us we are ignorant for choosing gasoline-powered vehicles instead of their vision of what should be the “right” choice.  The government will continue to “invest” our money in a failing venture and Americans will continue to turn their backs on an undesirable product.

What the Volt, Leaf, and Liberals have in common, however, is the high cost of stupidity.

One thing that has to make you laugh about these cars is the absurdly stupid micro-marketing going on with them.  Nissan has announced they will launch an electric sports car and here is their target demographic… his name is “Daniel” and he lives in Barcelona, Spain (he sounds to be a bit of a wanker):

Daniel, an ESFLOW owner, works in tech, but lives for the weekend. On Friday night after work, he gets behind the wheels of his ESFLOW which instantly links with his pocket PDA and determines the fastest route to his girlfriend’s home. Finding street side parking is a synch as the ESFLOW’s compact dimensions allow it to slip in to the narrowest of spaces. On Saturday he drives to a popular club to exhibit his DJ skills and his friends are impressed by his cool EV sports car.

On Sunday he drives through the mountains for leisure. ESFLOW’s superb weight distribution and unobstructed view ahead enables him to effortlessly nail every apex, every time. His descent from the mountains is more relaxed and he allows the ESFLOW to overrun on the long sweeping curves, turning the potential energy he and the car gained climbing up the gradients back in to electrical energy he can use once he hits the roads around Barcelona.

As his ESFLOW sips energy in its garage Daniel prepares himself for the week ahead, batteries fully recharged.

Which one is dumber… “Daniel” or the PR piece written about him..?

44 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. LD Jackson March 8, 2011 at 2:58 AM -

    Ignorance gone to seed, if you ask me. They can push the electric car all they want, but the simple fact is that it is not feasible for the vast majority of Americans.
    LD Jackson recently posted..Where Does Our Money Go

  2. Dean March 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM -

    “…determines the fastest route to his girlfriend’s home.”

    If he hasn’t figured that out on his own, he will, no doubt, be requiring assistance in determining other routes with respect to his girlfriend.

    Yes, “Daniel” is a hipster jag-off, the ideal demo for this car.

    Devil’s advocate: The Volt was sold only in limited markets. Might that explain why they sold so few? Chevy revising down their projections perhaps answers this question.

    • Harrison March 8, 2011 at 7:40 PM -

      Limited markets… if you call California, New York Washington D.C., Michigan, Connecticut and Texas “limited.”

      • Chris March 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM -

        Unfortunately the author is putting out incorrect data.

        GM tooled up to build 10,000 volts in 2011 and 30,000 in 2012. Since the end of last year they have announced increases in capacity to meet demand. Yes the Volt is not going to sell 200,000 units a year like the Civic or Corolla but they will outsell most vehicles that MSRP over $40k. Like it or not there is a market. And GM plans on filling it.

        “GM has previously said it would build 10,000 Volts between the start of production and the end of 2011, and another 30,000 during calendar 2012.”

        They then upped the planned volumes to 45K in the middle of 2010 for 2012 and now has added a 2nd shift to produce even more.

        “GM has been talking about (25k instead of 10k this year, 60k+ instead of the planned 45k next year)?”

        And yes 5 states out of 50 is a limited market.

        • Harrison March 27, 2011 at 7:48 PM -

          December 1, 2010:

          “GM has long expected demand for the car will far outstrip supply. Only 10,000 to 15,000 Volts will be produced in 2011, and 45,000 in 2012. How much the demand is remains unknown. As of this writing, GM has now signed up 240,000 interested parties or potential buyers through the website.”

          The car is being sold in 7 states (California and New York being the largest markets in the U.S.) and 240,000 people signed up and they sold… 281?

          There was a mistake in the initial production numbers. This error will be corrected thank you for bringing it to my attention.

          • Chris March 28, 2011 at 4:18 AM -

            All automakers use a slow start up schedule for new vehicles, especially with new technology like electric drives, to assure quality. Both the Leaf and Volt have a very slow start up and therefore limited availability.

            Chevrolet has announced they have increased the start up rate but to assure quality it cannot go to full speed too quickly. I have read they are trying to increase the 2011 build to 20,000 units but it will be tough due to li-ion battery availability.

            Inventory at dealers is almost non existent. Some dealers are charging $5000 over sticker.

            “Richard Kaufman recently went into his Los Angeles area Chevrolet dealership to purchase a “Chevy Volt”. Much to Kaufman’s surprise the dealership quoted him a price $5,000 higher then that of the price on the sticker.”

            The reasons for low sales is lack of inventory at dealerships, not a lack of buyers. The question is what the annual sales rate will be after 2012. But it looks like they will sell everyone they can build for the years until Volt.2 comes out at a cheaper price (Ackerson is aiming for $5000 – $10,000 less).

            I myself have no interest in buying a Volt. Too small and too expensive. But there is a market for it as there is a market for BMW 5 series (midsize car priced at over $50k!) What idiot would pay that for any car? Well lots of them and they are not idiots, they just have the money to buy what they want. And there are lots of buyers out there that will pay $40k for a Volt. And do not forget the 3 year $350 lease.

            There is a market for a Volt. And as gas prices go up and Volt prices go down it will only increase. Those that choose to live the “green” life have lots of money and their numbers are only increasing.

            • Harrison March 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM -

              I am firmly convinced many of BMW’s sales are because of the cachet of their brand. I don’t think the Volt will have the same glow about it. As gas prices increase Prius, Mini, and Civic, and other sales will increase. While I’m sure Chevy will move more than 281 of the vehicles in the future I do not think the sales numbers will come anywhere close to even a fraction of those other cars. The Nissian Leaf will sell in even smaller numbers.

              Time will tell and we will revisit the Volt but I doubt 10,000 will be sold this year.

            • Chris March 28, 2011 at 11:45 AM -

              Absolutely BMW has their brand cachet. Just as the Prius did when it first came out and continues to have. And the Volt also has it.

              We will just have to wait and see.

              As of 3/10 however, GM has only shiped 928 units which is barely one for each dealership in that “limited” market. And they are requiring each dealership to use one as a drivable demo and draw in customers.

              See the attached video of the NA President Mark Reuss discussing the roll out.


            • Harrison March 28, 2011 at 11:52 AM -

              We will revisit this issue in a few months. I still see the Prius, Mini, and Civic taking the vast majority of the sales. They are cheaper, too. And GM is losing a fortune on each car sold.

            • Chris March 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM -

              Now you are jumping from not making 10,000 sales this year to the Civic taking the vast majority of sales? Of course it will. No one said the Volt will sell 250,000 units this year or next year. All I posted was that GM is trying to find a way to build 15,000 this year and 60,000 next year and will sell everyone they can build.

            • Harrison March 28, 2011 at 1:00 PM -

              My point was people will buy the other, cheaper, proven cars, not the Volt. Same prediction.

  3. jd March 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM -

    know what’l help chevy’s numbers? the affirmation of the individual mandate.

    utopia, HO!

  4. Steve Dennis March 8, 2011 at 5:54 PM -

    People simply do not want to spend $40,000 on a car that they have to plug in too frequently. The sad part is–if Obama can mandate a person to buy healthcare, what is to stop him from ordering people to buy electric cars for their own good?
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Kathleen Sebelius admits the administration is double counting on Obamacare to hide the impact on the federal deficit

    • Harrison March 8, 2011 at 7:39 PM -

      Even then the prices are heavily subsidized (by the taxpayer).

    • Dean March 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM -

      Steve, nothing. Nothing whatsoever.

      Anthony Kennedy, you’re our only hope.7kpw

      • Harrison March 10, 2011 at 12:01 AM -

        Isn’t that Obi-Won?

  5. Johnny March 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM -

    u gotta laugh at the obama regime it’s so pathetic and poor GM, they were going to ax the Volt and for good reason, it’s not feasible to build it much less own it, and what happened to the Hydrogen it was supposed to use in addition to gas/electric?? Please, liberals have driven us to the door of economic disaster and we’re slowly going thru it unless we rid ourselves of these whackjobs liberal evironmental idiots using lies and junk science to force car companies to build these idiotic tinker toys and no one with one functioning brain sell would ever buy

    • Chris March 30, 2011 at 12:46 PM -

      Can you show me anything that said GM was going to ax the Volt? And where the heck did GM say the Volt would use Hydrogen in production?

      The stuff people come up with is amazing. If we are going to argue at least keep the talking points factual.

      Yes people will buy the cheaper cars in higher volumes. But there are people who will buy expensive vehicles, just in lower volumes. Again, the Volt will be sold out for 3 years UNLESS GM decides to push production over 75,000 per year or gas drops below $2.50 / gallon. Now these are my predictions but I base on data.

      • Harrison March 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM -

        I don’t think Government Motors was ever considering killing the Volt nor was it ever designed to run on hydrogen (BMW, Mercedes, and Honda are playing with this folly).

        Cars like the Volt and the Tesla can only survive with billions in taxpayer “support.” Too much money has been wasted on this car for it to simply die.

  6. Terry April 7, 2011 at 10:12 PM -

    Where did this author get his information. The Volt is an electric car but with it’s own generator. So you can drive as far as you want as long as you pay for the gas. Government infusion of money had nothing to do with the Volt, GM was working on this car before bankruptcy. It also shares a platform with the new Cruze.

    One reason GM wanted this car was for image. Another reason, you need to start and build volume to work on your costs. Initially, high and these should come down with volume and time.

    But remember, this work on technology has other benefits. Wait till you see the 2012 eAssist LaCrosse that gets over 35mpg on the highway. And GM will make money on everyone of them.

    • Harrison April 7, 2011 at 10:31 PM -

      The information comes from the facts. Might want to look up the definition of an electric car. The Volt does not meet this definition. And do you seriously think the Volt would have been produced without the government having bailed out GM? Or without all of the subsidies the car and its Korean battery manufacturer gets?

      GM should be concentrating on small gasoline cars the way Honda has with its Civic, Toyota with its Yaris, and Ford with its Focus and Fiesta.

      Lets face it… the Volt is really nothing more than a Christmas tree ornament that costs billions of dollars to develop. Meanwhile, the interiors of GM’s other cars are still low rent and uninspired.

      For further reading please refer to Jalopnik:!5661051/how-gm-lied-about-the-electric-car

      • Chris April 8, 2011 at 6:14 AM -

        Perhaps you should read an article on GM cars introduced in the last 5 years. GM has the best interiors out there. Better than Honda or Toyota. Better than best in class Jetta or Mazda3 in the compact class. Unfortunately your perception is the norm for Americans.–GM’s-North-American-market-share–report-says

        • Harrison April 8, 2011 at 9:28 AM -

          The “norm for Americans” as opposed to Albanians? Aren’t Americans GM’s main customer? I’ve worked in the car industry for 7 years and nothing depreciates faster than a car made by GM.

      • Chris April 8, 2011 at 6:46 AM -

        I apologize for the above incorrect link. Trying to copy and paste on an iPod.

      • Chris April 8, 2011 at 6:49 AM -

        Oh yea, the new cruze ECO gets the best mpg for a non electric/hybrid compact.

        42 highway. Lots of volt learned technology in it. World class vehicle.

      • Chris April 8, 2011 at 6:52 AM -

        You are right. If we had not bailed out GM there would be no Volt.

        Of course there would be no GM either.

        • Harrison April 8, 2011 at 9:27 AM -

          There would have been a GM… a smaller, leaner GM… one that didn’t have the money to waste on such projects. GM blew $500,000.00 million on the EV1 and ended up with egg on their face.

  7. Chris April 8, 2011 at 6:03 AM -

    Volt runs only on electricity so by industry standards it is an electric car. However it has an onboard generator to run the car when the battery gets below 30% charge. The issue about it not being an electric came up when at high speeds the generator does supplement the wheels with direct mechanical advantage.

    it does not really matter what you call it. If you want call it a hybrid you can. The important part to the market that will buy this vehicle is that you can run it without gas if you can limit yourself to ~50 miles per day which 80% of the public does.

    Right now the buyers of the vehicle are driving about 1000 miles between gas fill ups. This is the huge advantage of the volt vs. other electrics. You do not limit your daily miles. You can drive as far as you want.

    Bottom line is the volt will continue to be sold out for 3 years. GM will sell everyone they can build. There is a market for this vehicle at the volumes GM will be producing them.

    • Harrison April 8, 2011 at 9:30 AM -

      Chris, if the wheels are driven by anything but a battery it’s not an electric car.

      • Greg April 14, 2011 at 6:47 PM -

        Harrison, your comments show your lack of knowledge on this subject. It’s good to know you would rather send money to people trying to kill us than use it to advance american technology. And your comment that nobody wants one….every allotment in the greater Raleigh area is sold, and deliveries don’t start here for 5 months. Get a clue dude, your stupidity makes me want to become a democrat.

        • Harrison April 14, 2011 at 6:55 PM -

          By your comments, you probably already are a Democrat.

          Firstly, I’m sure you are aware that we are sending “money to people trying to kill us” because Democrats won’t allow for drilling or refineries to be built. I’m sure you’ll also aware that if the something is subsidized enough anybody will buy it. And you also must be aware that the Smart car sold in massive numbers originally and now, two years later, sales are down 59% and dealerships that sell them are closing.

          • Greg April 14, 2011 at 7:18 PM -

            The smart car offers no mpg advantage to any other typical eco car, it’s butt ugly, and it’s main safety feature is a “roll cage” to help you bounce off the other car when in an accident. No wonder it doesn’t sell. Why are you so against pushing technology, every other country subsidizes new tech. Get off your “i’m pissed my daddy has to pay more taxes” crap. I bet you don’t even know anything about the Volt except the sales numbers.

            • Harrison April 14, 2011 at 8:22 PM -

              My point regarding Smart was that initial sales were excellent but once the pent up demand was met everybody who wanted one had one and sales fell flat.

              I believe the same thing will happen to the Volt. GM spent billions on the EV1, had tens of thousands of people say they wanted one, the leases were heavily subsidized ($400 per month) but only moved about 2,300 over 3 years. Gigantic flop. And GM was smeared by an inaccurate movie to boot.

              The Volt has seen as much money invested in it, GM loses a ton on each one, the taxpayer subsidizes each with a $7,500.00 tax credit, and the price point is still too high at $41,000.00 and nobody is “helping” the environment by building or buying one.

              I don’t know how much my “daddy” pays in taxes but there is not a single “green” energy technology that even comes close to breaking even and the money wasted on this actually costs jobs in the private sector. In Spain, the result was 2 lost jobs for every 1 “green” job created. Outstanding!


              Face it, you’re in love with the Volt and its ilk no matter what the reality is.

              At least one of us knows something about the vehicle.

  8. Steve May 4, 2011 at 10:39 PM -

    Uh, Daniel:

    “On Friday night after work, he gets behind the wheels of his ESFLOW which instantly links with his pocket PDA and determines the fastest route to his girlfriend’s home.”

    Daniel is either a complete idiot or gets a new girlfriend every week because I would think that once you’ve driven from work to your girlfriend’s house you will pretty much remember where it is.

    I know, there’s all sorts of FAIL when it comes to EVs, but I found that part amusing.

  9. Hal July 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM -

    Nissan Leaf deliveries for June are 1708. Total deliveries in 2011 are around 3600. Production is finally ramping up. Not bad for a new model car. They will hit 11000 easily by end of year. The Mazda Miata barely delivers that number. A few more electric cars, who knows, maybe a few less mid east conflicts. Great job Nissan. Can’t wait to see the Ford Focus EV.

    • Harrison July 4, 2011 at 1:47 PM -

      Right, Hal, because people looking at a Leaf are most likely to shop it against a two seat convertible.

      At 33 grand there are a lot more compelling cars out there than a Leaf.

      Less Hope and Change and a more realistic energy and political strategy would cause less Mid East conflicts.

      Thanks for your comments but I’m not buying it.

  10. John Wagner August 13, 2011 at 8:11 AM -

    Leaf and Volt will sell every single one they manufacture. To say the sales are a “flop” is misleading. There is a huge market for these vehicles. To say we need to drill and build new refineries is ludicrous. We don’t drill because easily found oil is non-existent. We reached American peak oil in 1970. The United States is a mature and dying oil market for exploration and development. We don’t have any new refineries because of lack of oil to refine. We will NEVER be able to find enough oil to make a new refinery practical. Look at the science and stop listening to politicians. Electric vehicles are the only current practical answer to declining world oil production and thus our national security. If you don’t understand that you are an idiot.

    • Harrison August 13, 2011 at 8:21 AM -

      There is plenty of oil out there – it is being discovered all of the time just in other countries because they do not enforce bans on exploration. The Volt is selling so strongly its numbers are decreasing every month as the facts show. Perhaps you should apply your own judgement to yourself?

  11. Gary October 12, 2011 at 12:44 PM -

    Wow, what a stupid article. About time to eat your words yet? As of September 2011 the Leaf has sold 15,000 worldwide. This is a faster ramp-up than than the Toyota Prius. It has selling at a rate of 1,000-1,300 cars a month now in the US DESPITE BEING AVAILABLE IN ONLY FIVE STATES RIGHT NOW. Far from being a flop, the Nissan Leaf is selling quite well when compared to most cars. It sells more than a lot of other cars that Nissan offers despite being available in only limited markets.

    • Harrison October 12, 2011 at 1:18 PM -

      Wow, what a stupid comment.

      The Leaf should sell considering its price is artificially lowered by $7,500.00 via the U.S. taxpayer.

      But let’s look at your assertions just for fun anyway, shall we?

      For September 2011 (U.S. sales only) 240,860 small cars were sold (same classification as the Leaf). Nissan sold 1,031 Leafs. Their stated target for 2011 was 25,000 cars. If they are lucky they will sell 10,000.

      Anyway you look at it this is hardly a drop in the bucket or a success story unless you call being wrong by 150% a “good job.”

      And as to your comparison with the Toyota Prius and the Leaf having “a faster ramp-up” might I remind you that gas was $1.30 per gallon versus $3.44 today (a nearly 275% increase).

      As I pointed out in an earlier comment, the Smart car sold rapidly in the beginning then died off. My experience with electric cars is that businesses like to lease them thus pretending they are “green” (Liberals always fall for this ruse, too) but for the vast majority of people these cars are impractical.

      You apparently missed the entire point of the article (not surprising):

      To own an electric car you cannot be poor living paycheck to paycheck because gas prices are eating your monthly budget alive. Electric cars are meant to “combat” high fuel prices because they apparently only cost pennies per mile to charge. Of course, you need to have a place to plug in your car every night and most poor people don’t have that. So you have to possess a certain income in order to be able to save money on “fuel.” And people with this type of income don’t want to own a glamorized golf cart that can simply stop running because you’ve driven more than 60 miles.

      And the final point was that they should not be subsidized, either.

  12. Buzz Smith December 18, 2012 at 8:26 AM -

    For the second year in a row, the Chevy Volt sits atop Consumer Report’s owner’s satisfaction survey, a position that used to be held by the Porsche 911. Try as you might, the conservatives are not going to kill the Volt, even with the false claims that they “burst into flames.” As of the end of November 2012, 28,825 Volts have been bought. Those 28,825 owners are out there raving about how great their Volt is. Their friends are getting interested. A tipping point will be reached and I believe it’s not far away.

    My last three cars were Lexus ES300’s. I won’t be going back and my money went to an American company this time. Why is that bad?

    My fuel and maintenance savings make this wonderful car a MUCH less expensive vehicle to own than my Lexuses were. Most days, my entire commute is performed on wind generated electricity. Better for the environment. Better for national security. Better for American jobs.

    Yes, Volts are currently subsidized by the government, in order to steer people toward considering this new technology. The government also subsidizes property ownership by giving tax deductions for mortgage interest because as a culture we think it is better for people to own homes rather than rent them. Some of us also believe it is better to pollute less, use American resources rather than foreign, and support the American workforce.

    Early adopters will always pay a premium for being the first to adopt a new technology but they’ll also be paving the way for economies of scale that will reduce the price over time. The first VCRs were $1,300. They ended up being less than $90, once mass production got rolling.
    Buzz Smith recently posted..A tale of two EVs