Monthly LEAF vs. Volt sales silliness

volt-vs-leaf-demand2editors-blog-entry3Can we, like, just end the LEAF vs. Volt monthly sales silliness now?

One news outlet after the other dutifully reported that the LEAF outsold the Volt in the month of April in the U.S., with Nissan putting 573 LEAFs into consumer hands and GM handing over the keys to 493 Volts.

GM still holds the “all important” lead in this sales race, having sold a few more than 2,000 total Volts to Nissan’s approximately 1,000 LEAFs in the U.S. so far

Demand vs. supply
What we have here isn’t a sales race in the traditional consumer demand sense, though this is typically the way things have been cast in the media coverage I’ve seen in what basically amounts to “what a piddly demand there is for electric cars” take.

The reality here is that we have a production and delivery race.

Basically, demand for both the LEAF and the Volt far outstrips supply, with neither Nissan nor GM able to keep up with that demand, though arguably Nissan has done a poorer job so far in the U.S. having delivered half as many LEAFs as GM has delivered Volts.

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More LEAFs than Volts by end of year?
That’s supposed to turn around, as Nissan has promised 20,000 LEAFs will be sitting in American consumers’ driveways by the end of 2011 while GM has indicated about 10,000 Volts should roll off the assembly line this year.

So, to reiterate: The real story isn’t that Nissan outsold GM in April in the U.S. but that it out-delivered GM in April, though, of course, one of the main reasons for this is that GM has recently focused on getting more Volts into the hands of dealers as demonstration vehicles.

The distinction between a consumer-driven sales race as opposed to a production race is important because, as we’ve noted before at SolarChargedDriving.Com, the comparatively low number of plug-ins sold so far in the U.S. is clearly not a matter of lack of demand, it’s a matter of a lack of supply and the inability of GM, and, in particular, Nissan, to deliver plug-in cars in higher numbers.

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