Subscribe

Nissan Leaf withdrawn from New Zealand, electric-car sales plummet

The Nissan Leaf is the bestselling electric car worldwide, but now Nissan will stop selling it from New Zealand.

  • close
    A Nissan Leaf electric car is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (January 12, 2016).
    Mark Blinch/Reuters/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

When it comes to thriving markets for electric cars, New Zealand doesn't exactly top the list.

So what happens when a bestselling electric car is withdrawn from what is already a low-volume market?

The Nissan Leaf is the bestselling electric car worldwide, but now Nissan will stop selling it from New Zealand.

And that is causing electric-car sales in the country to plummet, according to one advocacy group.

New Zealand electric-car sales have stalled since Nissan stopped selling the Leaf there last November, according to local group Drive Electric (via Stuff.co.nz).

The group says this is because the removal of the Leaf leaves buyers without a low-cost electric-car option.

The Leaf had been selling in New Zealand for around $40,000 (about $26,000 U.S.).

With the Nissan electric car no longer available, the next cheapest option for a plug-in car is the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid.

But this model does not have an all-electric powertrain, and it costs roughly $60,000 ($40,000 U.S.) in New Zealand.

Price is an especially important factor in New Zealand because a larger portion of electric-car sales come from cost-conscious fleet owners.

At the same time, many individual buyers prefer used cars imported from the U.K. and Japan that sell for much lower prices than new cars.

For its part, Nissan does not believe continuing to sell the Leaf in New Zealand is a commercially-sustainable proposition.

It was previously able to sell the Leaf at a lower price by sourcing Japanese-made cars from the company's larger sales operation in adjacent Australia.

Even if it decided to continue selling the Leaf in New Zealand, Nissan does not think it could do so without raising prices.

Lack of strong electric-car incentives may have also factored into the carmaker's decision.

New Zealand's government is in the process of developing an incentives package, but Nissan does not expect it to move the needle much.

And as in other countries, advocates there worry that low oil prices are suppressing demand for electric cars.

While electric cars have made great strides over the past few years, the case of New Zealand shows once more that they still have quite a way to go before achieving mass adoption.

It also shows how removing a car like the Leaf, which is well suited to the needs of a large swath of buyers, from the equation can have a significant negative impact on sales.

New Zealand now has just over 1,000 electric cars registered, of a total of 4.7 million vehicles on its roads.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK