Traditionally, buyers of Nissan’s Leaf electric car have been the sort that are more interested in cutting their carbon footprint than their transportation costs and that’s something the automaker wants to change.
Until 2013, owning a Leaf meant a starting price of $35,200 — before the federal tax credit. Even after that, the Leaf was far from being a cash miser’s dream come true. Then the brand announced pricing for the 2013 model to start at $28,800, which drops below $19,000 after a federal tax credit and local incentives. Not only that, but Nissan has a $199-per-month lease offer.
“We’re focusing on the value and economic equation of having an EV — what impact that would have on your household budget,” Leaf sales and marketing director Eric Gottfried told Bloomberg. “If the car is affordable on a monthly basis and it’s saving you a significant amount on what would be gas expense, that’s a whole different mindset.”
It isn’t clear when the new advertising campaign will begin, but Gottfried said they will be shown on a national scale rather than being restricted to California.
Initial cost of ownership has been one of the key deterrents to buying an electric car. Nissan’s biggest change to the 2013 Leaf was slashing its price by roughly 18 percent. Other updates include increased range and decreased charge time, though both are negligible.
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Jump to last month’s sales report and Nissan is selling the Leaf like crazy – at least relatively speaking. Automotive News data shows that 2,236 of the electric cars sold last month and 3,539 this quarter. That’s better than double what Nissan sold in the first quarter of 2012. What’s more, last month’s sales are almost four times better than the same month a year ago.
Why? Nissan realized that for most customers, paying around $40,000 after taxes, delivery, licensing is a little too far over the cuckoo’s nest — even with the government dangling its $7,500 in tax credit in their faces.
That comes full circle to the latest scheme to hatch out of Nissan’s marketing department as the company searches for ways to sell electric cars in significantly higher volumes.