Cars were burning rubber off dealers’ lots all over the US in May, as five sunny weekends gave the typically strong month an extra boost. Overall auto sales were up 11% compared to May 2013, a nine-year high.
Plug-ins rode the trend, setting an all-time monthly record – 12,053 Americans charged up new cars in May, shattering figures from April (8,605) and last May (7,454).
The Nissan LEAF widened its lead with an enormous increase to 3,117 units, compared to 2,138 in May 2013. In fact, this represents 15 consecutive monthly records, and the best monthly sales figure for any pure electric in history. Nissan is (naturally) predicting even better things to come. LEAF Marketing Director Toby Perry told InsideEVs, “LEAF is poised to take advantage of a market ripe for higher EV sales thanks to a great value proposition, an engaged base of owner-advocates, rapid increases in charging infrastructure in major markets across the country and new tax credits in Texas and other states.”
The Toyota Prius Plug-In’s performance was similarly impressive – it turned in record monthly sales of 2,692. Numbers have been steadily increasing sales for the past few months, so this is looking less like a rush for the last of California’s coveted “green stickers,” and more like a sustainable trend.
The Chevy Volt hung onto third place – May sales of 1,684 represent a slight gain over April (1,548) and a slight gain over May 2013 (1,607). Steady but slow progress seems to be the deal for now. Perhaps something spectacular will happen when the next-generation 2016 Volt goes on sale in the second half of 2015.
Ford’s Fusion Energi grabbed fourth place with a spectacular 1,342, by far its best month ever. The C-MAX Energi sold 782, a large gain over April, but short of its all-time high. The Focus Electric also saw an increase, with 177 sales.
InsideEVs estimates that Tesla sold 1,000 Model S in May. The company’s first-quarter results, released on May 7, show that Tesla delivered 6,457 Model S during the quarter, roughly equal to its projection but slightly down from the record 6,892 sold in the previous quarter. The company built 7,535 units, building up inventory as it began sending cars to China and continued shipping to Europe. Tesla expects to produce 8,500 to 9,000 Model S in the second quarter, and to deliver 35,000 cars this year, said CEO Elon Musk, adding that sales continue to be limited not by demand but by production capacity.
The eagerly awaited BMW i3 hit dealerships this month, and made 336 sales, an all-time record for an EV debut. Watch this space like a hawk.
The tiny smart ED is selling very well in Europe, and it continues to move a small but respectable number here in the land of the large. At 206 units, sales were basically unchanged from April.
Also down in the B league, the Chevy Spark EV posted an unexpected gain, selling a record 182 in May, after hovering around the 100 mark since its year-ago debut.