Last month Nissan Leaf sales declined in Japan, but when compared to previous years, they remained strong. In March, 2.997 Nissan Leaf units were sold in Japan.
However, it’s clear that Japanese customers still prefer hybrid cars, especially because they are cheaper. Currently, I think that with modern electric cars, range or charging time aren’t as much of a problem as price still is.
We are led to believe that electric cars are inherently more expensive to make and consider 30.000 € electric cars affordable, but they aren’t. Price is definitely the biggest barrier to electric car adoption.
Anyway, let’s see the best selling cars in Japan last month.
- Nissan Note: 19.356
- Toyota Prius: 15.688
- Nissan Serena: 15.080
- Toyota Aqua (Prius C): 14.778
- Honda Fit: 12.503
The Nissan Leaf was the best selling electric car at the 35º position.
It’s interesting that all these car models at the top 5, are either hybrids or at least available in hybrid variants. Even the minivan Nissan Serena is now available (since last month) with the e-POWER (series hybrid) variant, which helped to boost sales. The e-POWER powertrain is also responsible for Nissan Note’s high sale figures in Japan.
As a side note, in Japan the Nissan Note e-POWER price starts at 1.901.880 JPY (14.487 €), while the Nissan Leaf has a starting price of 3.150.360 JPY (23.992 €).
I often criticize Toyota for praising hybrids while ignoring all electric cars, but ultimately it’s better to praise hybrids than diesels. If automakers aren’t willing to sell affordable electric cars (below 20.000 €), they should at least sell gasoline-electric hybrids at that price point, since they are much better for our heath than diesels. Nissan promised to bring the series hybrid e-POWER powertrain to the Juke and the Micra, but we’re still waiting.
It’s clear that people that are already driving hybrids are the easiest group to then convince to upgrade to all electric cars. This means that the first automaker to offer real affordable electric cars have a huge market in Japan.
What do you think? Are hybrids a needed stopgap? When will an electric car reach the top 5 of most sold cars in Japan?
Thanks Michał for the heads up.