It’s official, there are now mass-produced all-electric vehicles on the streets of America thanks to Nissan North America. Yesterday, automakers posted their final December 2010 sales figures and for the first time, the Nissan Leaf appeared on this list. During the month, the company sold 19 Nissan Leaf models to customers in select cities including Olivier Chalouhi. Chalouhi, who lives in Redwood City, California, was the first Nissan Leaf owner in the United States.
The other much-anticipated vehicle release of late 2010, the Chevy Volt, fared better in sales than the Nissan Leaf despite its higher price tag. During December 2010, Chevy sold 326 Volt models. Determining the owner of the first Chevy Volt is a bit more difficult than figuring out who owned the first Nissan Leaf.
In his article for the Mother Nature Network, blogger Jim Motavalli discusses the challenge:
“It’s complicated. Does retired New Jersey-based pilot Jeff Kaffee have the first Chevy Volt, or does North Carolina auto dealer Rick Hendrick? They both could make claims.
Hendrick bought the first one offered for sale via an online charity auction benefitting the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. What’s the first Volt worth? It went for $225,000 — so there’s your answer”
While Hendrick won the charity auction, Kaffee was the first customer to actually take delivery of a Chevy Volt. Either way, General Motors is now selling the long-awaited Chevy Volt to customers in select markets.
In other eco-friendly motoring news, sales of the Toyota Prius remained strong. In fact, the Prius posted its best-ever December sales in 2010 with 15,253 units sold. This is a 37.7 percent increase over December 2009. Although the Prius had been lagging behind 2009 in year-to-date sales, the increase in December sales bumped the Prius into the black. In 2010, Toyota sold 140,928 Prius models, up 1.6 percent from the 139,682 units sold the previous year.
Honda hybrid sales also had a great December, specifically the Honda Civic Hybrid. In December 2010, the company sold 906 Civic Hybrids, a 99.5 percent increase over the 471 units sold in 2009. Unfortunately, Civic Hybrid sales were down 51.2 percent in 2010 overall.
Some of the decline of the Civic Hybrid sales can be attributed to both the Honda Insight Hybrid as well as the Honda CR-Z Hybrid. In 2010, 20,962 Honda Insights were sold, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2009. Honda finished out the year with 5,249 CR-Z Hybrids sold, its newest hybrid model, which was just released in August.