Nissan introduced the all-electric Leaf in December and was quickly plagued with issues that delayed production. Nissan only sold 19 Leafs during the month of December, but a review of the January sales figures shows that Nissan appears to be getting on track with production. During January 2011, 87 Nissan Leafs were sold.
January marked the end of the Nissan Leaf's first round of deliveries. Bill Markevitch with Hawaii Public Health received delivery of the first Nissan Leaf in Hawaii. Nissan North America has now completed its first deliveries in all of the launch markets. The next step for Nissan is to open up Leaf orders nationwide in preparation for a true national launch next year.
The other electrified vehicle launched in December 2010, the Chevy Volt, also had a good January. Although sales of the Volt dropped from 326 in December to 321 in January, the Volt continues to outsell the Leaf. Overall, sales of GM passenger cars were strong with a 39 percent increase in retail sales during the month.
Sales of the Toyota Prius continue to outpace both the Volt and Leaf. The Prius comes with a smaller price tag than these two vehicles but it is also available nationwide. As the Volt and Leaf continue to expand to more markets, Toyota may begin to see a dent in sales of the Prius. During January 2011, Toyota sold 10,635 units — this is up 25.4 percent from January 2010 but down from the 15,253 Priuses sold in December 2010.
As the crisis in Egypt continues, concerns about oil deliveries from the Middle East are cropping up. Gas prices are already on the rise, and the trend may continue in the coming months. These events may lead money-conscious Americans to once again look at hybrid vehicles as a viable alternative to gas-guzzling models. If this happens, sales of electric vehicles, hybrids and other fuel-efficient models may surge. This happened in the spring and summer of 2008 and it may happen again this year.