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To Combat Slowing Sales, Nissan Slashes Leaf Pricing

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial, Electric Vehicle, Nissan

The 2013 Nissan Leaf – image: Nissan

While automotive news was flowing in a steady stream from the Detroit Auto Show, Nissan managed to slip a quiet update under the radar. It’s no secret that sales of its Leaf electric car haven’t exactly met expectations, so Nissan is doing the prudent thing: it’s slashing the Leaf’s starting price.

Thanks to a newly-created Leaf S trim, as well as a shift to lower-cost U.S. assembly, Nissan is selling its electric car at a starting price of just $28,800. That’s $6,000, or 18-percent, less than the Leaf’s point of entry last year. Factor in federal and state tax credits, and Nissan points out that the Leaf could ultimately cost as little as $18,800, putting it in the same price bracket as comparable gasoline-powered vehicles.

Nissan has reduced Leaf pricing on other trims as well, so customers shopping for higher content levels will save money, too. A 2012 Leaf SV was priced from $35,200 (sans destination), while the 2013 Leaf SV begins at just $31,820 (also excluding destination. The range-topping Leaf SL cost $37,250 last year, but this year’s price is dropped to $34,840.

Will that be enough to boost sales? We suppose that answer is tied to the cost of gasoline and the amount of consumer disposable income for a second (or third) vehicle. We don’t know of anyone who’d buy a Leaf as a primary vehicle, since its limited range and long charging times are an issue for most consumers. Still, as a daily commuter (for those with short to moderate commutes), the Leaf makes some sense. Is it now priced attractively enough for consumers to agree? Nissan hopes the answer is yes.


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