It’s official: US plug-in sales are in the doldrums. July sales of 8,951 were substantially down from June (10,364), and from July 2014 (11,242). While we’re waiting for the 2016 LEAF and next generation Volt to get things moving again in the fall, we’ll console ourselves with the news that even as US sales have stalled, worldwide sales have been shattering last year’s figures.
The Tesla Model S narrowly held onto its position as America’s best-selling plug-in, with 1,600 US sales in July. The company’s latest quarterly earnings announcement included a lowered delivery target of “50,000 to 55,000” vehicles for the year. TSLA stock, which had been buoyed by the recent round of Model S upgrades, took a beating. Model X sightings are becoming more common as the ESUV is groomed for its fall launch.
LEAF sales plummeted in July – the monthly tale of 1,174 was little better than half of June’s figure, and a bit over a third of that from last July. The new and improved 2016 LEAF may reach dealers in October, but Nissan hasn’t been saying a whole lot about it, perhaps hoping to avoid the sales slump that has afflicted the Volt…
…which actually didn’t have a bad month – July sales of 1,313 were up slightly over June. The last of the first-generation Volts are lingering on the lots, and dealers are dangling deep discounts. The new Volt, which should arrive in California in September, is a completely redesigned vehicle with a host of impressive improvements (read about them in detail in the next issue of Charged).
One bright spot this month was the BMW i3, which jumped into fourth place with 935 sales, its second-best monthly showing this year.
Further back in the pack, there isn’t much news. Ford’s PHEVs, the Fusion Energi (852 US sales in July) and C-MAX Energi (693) are holding their own, as is Toyota’s Prius Plug-in (584). Back in the long tail, the low-volume supercars are selling at respectable low volumes, and the compliance cars still comply.
The Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid made its debut this month, and sold 10 units. The S550, which starts at $94,400, may be the most luxurious plug-in yet produced. It sports a six-cylinder gas engine, an 8 kWh battery and a 20-mile electric range.