February plug-in vehicle sales: LEAF leading, Volt vexing

Model S Leaf Volt

Auto sales are still in their yearly winter hibernation, but February did see a respectable monthly increase, with 7,055 plug-ins sold, compared to 5,450 in January.

The LEAF held its strong lead with 1,425 units, over double February 2013 sales. Next month will mark one full year that Nissan has been building LEAFs in the US, so it will be interesting to see if it can continue the year-on-year monthly gains. Atlanta has developed into an unexpectedly strong market, behind only San Francisco in LEAF sales.

Tesla’s Model S was theoretically in second place for February – the company doesn’t release monthly sales figures, but InsideEVs estimated that 1,400 of the luxury sedans found homes. Tesla’s quarterly report for Q4 2013 showed record sales for the year, and spirits in Palo Alto (and on Wall Street) are high as the company prepares to start sales in China and the UK, and makes plans for its battery Gigafactory.

The Chevy Volt is definitely in a slump – its 2013 sales failed to better its 2012 figures, and February sales (1,425) are lower than those of a year ago (1,626). GM blames inventory issues for the poor showing (don’t they always?). On the bright side, the Volt earned two new awards this month: JD Power named the 2011 Volt “Most Dependable Compact,” and US News & World Report called the 2014 Volt “Best Upscale Midsize Car for the Money.” Chevy also launched a new TV ad campaign in February.

The Toyota Prius Plug-In is on a roll, as 1,041 units were sold, a 50% gain over February 2013. Toyota has begun testing its wireless charging system, which will be offered on the next-generation PPI.

Ford’s plug-ins also seem to be settling into a scenario of steady growth – sales for the Fusion Energi (779), C-MAX Energi (552) and Focus Electric (129) all bettered their January and year-on-year figures.

The smart ED is beginning to look like a contender at the low end of the market – its sales rose to 122 in February. It’s the first plug-in to be offered in the US with a battery rental option.

The Cadillac ELR sold 58 units in its second full month of sales. Citing low sales expectations, many GM dealers have declined to offer the new luxury PHEV.

 

Source: InsideEVs