New Nissan Leaf set to dominate plug-in car sales in Japan

2018 Nissan Leaf production at Nissan's Oppama plant in Yokosuka, Japan

The Nissan Leaf was the best selling plug-in car in Japan with 1.912 units sold last month. The second place was reserved for the Toyota Prius PHV with 1.670 units sold.


Unfortunately, due to the inspection scandal that affected Nissan, it wasn’t possible to surpass the previous month sales of 3.230 units.

Nevertheless, as we can see from the sale figures below, the new Nissan Leaf is proving to be one of the automaker’s most popular cars in Japan.


Japan Nissan Sales Results by Model in November 2017


In Japan there are only two plug-in cars that sell in volumes that worth mention, the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius PHV.

At the current scenario, the five-seater all-electric car from Nissan is expected to outsell the more expensive four-seater plug-in hybrid from Toyota. While the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the new Nissan Leaf starts at 3.150.360 JPY (23.351 €), the Toyota Prius PHV starts at 3.261.600 JPY (24.171 €).


Anyway, it will be interesting to see how will Toyota react to an all-electric car outselling its plug-in hybrid. The automaker will no longer be able to say that nobody wants electric cars. While I don’t think that Toyota will release an all-electric car anytime soon – outside China – to compete with the Nissan Leaf, the automaker will improve its Prius PHV by increasing the number of seats to five and upgrading the battery capacity.

As a side note, currently the Toyota Prius PHV uses outdated 25 Ah PHEV2 type battery cells from Sanyo/Panasonic.


Regarding the Nissan Leaf, upcoming improvements are already confirmed, the e-Plus version will have more range and power. To sum up, Toyota’s complex plug-in hybrids will not have an easy task competing against simpler all-electric cars.



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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Great, December sales will be interesting and 2018 should be great!

  2. I really don’t know and don’t understand that blind hate you have for Toyota, Pedro. But the true is that is leaving you to write wrong things, like:

    “To sum up, Toyota’s complex plug-in hybrids will not have an easy task competing against simpler all-electric cars.”

    This could not be more untrue a reveals a complete lack of knowledge on the Toyota HSD system. You should try to learn more about it, before saying that.

    Also sometime ago that made you say that the Ioniq was more efficient than the Prius. This was said with base on the EPA values declared by Hyundai. Well, Hyundai as lied before on the EPA values and it seems it was not the last time. I’ve seen several users of the Prius Prime (Prius PHEV 4G) getting much lower consumption values only using the electric train than the Ioniq EV values and the Prius still has to drag the ICE!

    1. I don’t have time to hate anybody or anything, that’s not my thing. I just want Toyota to build EVs because I know they’ll be great, but I also don’t like their lies about the battery technology not being ready for electric cars.

      How come a hybrid car isn’t a complex machine? Toyota officials say this themselves, they are proud and prefer to build hybrids because they know they’ll have less competition in this complex field, unlike the simpler EVs that even startup companies can build successfully…

    2. ” I know they’ll be great, but I also don’t like their lies about the battery technology not being ready for electric cars.”
      And at certain point they are right. You are forgetting 2 key factors:

      – Toyota has 20 years of experience with batteries. They now well all about batteries.
      – If you do some travel by the petrol-head forums, you will find out that to them no EV is enough today. Of course it’s all excuses, but no matter what you say, they will not buy them. Even for them the hybrids are not enough….

      “How come a hybrid car isn’t a complex machine? Toyota officials say this themselves, they are proud and prefer to build hybrids because they know they’ll have less competition in this complex field”

      They have less competition on this field, because they own the patent for the HSD system, that is a very simple system, with no clutch, no starter motor, no turbo engine, extremely high reliability.

      Believe me: i too would like to see Toyota build a EV, but they seem to want to build something when the battery technology will be at a very good point 😉

    3. C’mon do you really believe that Toyota doesn’t make EVs because it’s waiting for better battery technology?

      If Toyota cared about using the best battery technology available it wouldn’t be still using NiMH batteries in most of its hybrids. Furthermore, they would put Samsung SDI 37 Ah battery cells in the Prius PHV, instead of 25 Ah cells from Sanyo/Panasonic. They have the same size form factor (PHEV2).

      Unfortunately Koreans and Japanese don’t get along very well and Toyota won’t use the best battery technology available if it’s made by Koreans.

      Ever heard about the Sakichi battery story? To sum up, Toyota came up with unrealistic goals for what it considers to be a battery suitable for EVs. However, a Sakichi battery will never exist in our lifetime, it’s a fairy tale created to give the false sensation that Toyota is trying…

      Don’t get me wrong, I only criticize Toyota because I know they can achieve great things if they put their minds to it. For example, I really don’t care if Fiat builds EVs or not, most likely they’ll be crap anyway…

    (Toyota and Panasonic to Start Feasibility Study of Joint Automotive Prismatic Battery Business)
    (Toyota Aims for Sales of More Than 5.5 Million Electrified Vehicles Including 1 Million Zero-Emission Vehicles per Year by 2030)
    Mr Lima has quoted Craig Scott 2014 declarations instead.

    Prius PHV expected to sell 25k units in Japan, while Leaf 14k this year, not mentioned in the article.

    Time to change outdated and biased points of view, mr.Lima

    1. Mr Salgado those links only prove my point.

      First, that press conference was extremely boring, I saw the whole video (nearly one hour) and almost fell asleep with the Sakichi battery story. To sum up, that press conference was all about Toyota finding excuses to keep studying, but not build electric cars. Feasibility study?! What the hell!!!

      Second, if I’ve always thought that the never ending Volkswagen press releases that promise great electric cars for 2020 are a joke, now Toyota pushes the limits even more. 2030!? Really?!

      Third, the new Nissan Leaf has only been available in Japan since October… and since it’s available it outsold the Toyota Prius PHV every month. Who is the biased?

      I’m not biased, I’m just not a fanboy. I even criticize Tesla when it deserves (reliability and efficiency of their older cars).

      If you want to believe that Toyota doesn’t build electric cars because the battery technology isn’t ready yet, that’s ignoring the facts. I wrote plenty articles about the current battery technology and the upcoming NCM 811 cells. Unfortunately for Toyota fans, the best battery cells are made by Koreans and Toyota won’t use them ever.

      Don’t forget that this is PushEVs, not PushHybrids, don’t expect any praising for Toyota from me until they start selling EVs. Especially when Toyota uses battery technology as excuse to keep the status quo.

    2. +100
      exactly my thoughts. Toyota wants to bring it perfect so it waits too much?

  4. I agree with Pedro 99%. My only dispute is an eFiat is FAR from being “crap”. I own one in California & it is VERY nearly as good as my friend’s eGolf!!!

  5. Any original Leaf owners still left out there? Not many – except the few who can deal
    W/the hideous capacity loss. Nissan lies. Nissan said we’d get 100 miles. At 65mph, on flat ground, 75°f temp’s, no heat/ac gentle acceleration, MAYBE you could hit the epa’s measly mid 70’s range. And that’s ONLY when new. BUT after less than 6 months old – in hot climates like texas, Cali, AZ, new Mex, etc, battery degradation is well under way. But 5yrs later? With the junk ZERO quality Leaf packs, disintigrated capacity? Going up a gentle hill, on a cold/rainy day? Due to Leaf’s lack of liquid thermal management, it can barely limp along for ONLY 20 miles – but only IF the 1st 60k miles were gentle miles. Nevermind the junk quality paint or carpet or upholtery . Owners sued -class action, & all Nissan would be forced to do, is get you another junk battery – yea – for $5,000!?!? So yea, if you’re a really STUPID original owner you can put a $5,000 battery (plus labor!) into a junky car that now lists for $4,000?? So then, you might be able to unload it for $4,200. Thanks nissan, we pass. The new ‘better’ Leaf is still only passively air cooled too! So, what morons are left, that Nissan hopes to sell to. There certainly aren’t any repeat customers. Nope. Nissan pooped away all good will. Nissan NOW has THOUSANDS & 1,000’s of us negative campaigners warning the public, buy Nissan as a fool – at your own peril. Yours truly owner VIN xxxx000659.

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