In the spring a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…a new car! Overall auto sales were up 6% in March, and plug-in sales surged. 9,376 units were sold, a healthy increase both on February’s figure (7,055) and last March’s measure (7,982).
The LEAF opened up a wide lead with 2,507 units, a respectable increase over February 2013 sales, and just shy of its all-time monthly record. Nissan has been building LEAFs in the US for one full year now.
Tesla’s Model S was theoretically in second place for March, with an estimated 1,600 units sold. Tesla was continually in the headlines this month, as plans for the Gigafactory firmed up and the Model S acquired a new suit of armor. The war with the auto dealers grinds on – the company was forced to stop selling cars in New Jersey, but reached a promising compromise in New York. Meanwhile, across the pond, the Model S set a new record for monthly sales of a single model – ever.
The Chevy Volt may be recovering from its recent sales slump – March sales of 1,478 precisely matched those of a year ago, although year-to-date sales are still much lower than those for the comparable period in 2012. GM has announced that the second-generation Volt will debut next fall as a 2016 model, but few details are on offer.
In a very close fourth place, the Toyota Prius Plug-In got a big boost in March. Monthly sales of 1,452 are the third-best ever, and almost double those of March 2013. California buyers hoping to get a coveted “green sticker” before the supply runs out may be part of the story.
Ford’s plug-ins continued their sales growth – the Fusion Energi (899), C-MAX Energi (610) and Focus Electric (177) all showed gains over last month.
The smart ED (186) and Chevy Spark EV (108) both posted increases, and seem to be settling into stable, if unspectacular, monthly figures.
The Cadillac ELR sold 81 units in its third full month of sales, continuing an upward trend for the low-volume model.
One of the most eagerly awaited EVs ever is on the ships, and will make its sales debut next month. A native EV with a host of advanced features, including an optional range extender, and a fairly moderate price tag, the BMW i3 could really shake up the market.