Nissan says US women like Leafs image

Nissan Motor Co. announced that since it cut the price of its electric vehicle, the number of female U.S. buyers of its electric Leaf has nearly doubled in recent months, and that the average income and age of buyers has fallen.

Nissan announce an 18 percent price cut — to $28,800 — in January. Since then, the average age and average income of Leaf buyers both declined dramatically, said Erik Gottfried, director of electric vehicle sales and marketing for Nissan North America.
More people in their 30s and families are taking an interest in the vehicle. “We’re seeing a normalization in demographics and geographic footprint of the vehicle,” Gottfried said.

Gottfried said most Leaf buyers cross-shop the Toyota Prius and the plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, along with the Tesla Model S in some markets. He said the Leaf has had some unusual trade-ins, including the Ford F-150 pickup.

Also, at the beginning of 2013, women accounted for just 10 to 15 % of Leaf buyers, but that has increased to 25 to 30 %. “The early buyers were very heavily skewed male,” Gottfried said at a Washington Auto Press Association luncheon.

Nissan said compared to a year ago, Leaf sales were up 99 % in September to 1,953. In August, Nissan sold 2,420 Leafs. Nissan said Atlanta was again the No. 1 Leaf market in the U.S., buoyed by state tax credits and carpool-lane access. Texas and New Jersey are among the markets with big interest in the Leaf, he said.

Nissan had its best ever-sales month worldwide for the Leaf in September and is now on sale in 30 countries and all 50 U.S. states. About 80 percent of its dealers sell the Leaf. Nissan will be launching in China and the Leaf is being rolled out in South Africa. About 85,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide.