As far as car sales go, 2014 was a record-breaking year for car manufacturers across the board; as the Wall Street Journal notes, 2014 proved to be “the strongest year since a global financial crisis roiled the industry.” But one particular manufacturer and one particular model stood out above all the rest: the Nissan Leaf.
According to Green Car Reports, the increasingly popular electric car model saw sales rise during 2014, for the third year in a row, finally going above sales of 100,000 in the U.S.
2014 alone has become the highest-selling year for the Leaf, with new sales reaching about 30,200 in the U.S. According to Think Progress, this is an increase of about 33.6% percent in sales from 2013 (which had about 22,600 sales of the Leaf) and it’s substantially higher than the 10,000 sales during 2012 and 2011 combined.
Americans still don’t seem too thrilled about electric cars — those 30,200 are only “a small chunk” of the 1.3 million cars sold by Nissan in the U.S. this past year — but it’s clear that the Leaf is growing on consumers, especially as data shows that other brands of electric cars aren’t doing nearly as well.
The Chevrolet Volt and the Tesla Model S, for example, are two of the most high-profile eco-friendly cars on the market, but neither model managed to climb above approximately 1,000 sales per month in the United States. Nissan, on the other hand, saw monthly sales of the Leaf climb over 3,000 on four separate occasions during 2014.
One thing that the Leaf certainly has in its favor, Think Progress notes, is that it comes from an affordable manufacturer. Unlike a company like Tesla, which is known for being a high-end luxury car company, Nissan has a strong history with producing affordable — and dependable — cars in the U.S., even before it delved into the industry of electric and hybrid vehicles.
“The Leaf has been a fantastic vehicle for consumers looking for an eco-friendly car; they realize a lot of value in the car. With manufacturers understanding that consumers have a growing need for hybrid and electric vehicles, they are seeking to improve upon past models and as a result customers have been flying to the showroom to look at the Leaf,” says Steve Black, Digital Sales Director of Hudiburg Nissan.
All in all, consumers can probably expect to see more Leafs on the road during 2015, and by the time the second-generation Leaf is released in 2017, this one car might just change the American auto industry as we know it today.