Bruno Marcoux blew the lid off of the electric car market in Quebec last month when he launched a Nissan LEAF group buy in the province.
In total, 3,712 reservations for a Nissan LEAF came in before it was determined that the offer should be closed last week. Since then, Bruno has collected another 1,100 emails from people interested in future group buys in the USA and Canada (you can sign up here).
3,712 is nearly as many Nissan LEAFs as were sold in all of history in Canada. (That total is 3,967 through July.) Clearly, Nissan has to figure out how to get all of these Nissan LEAFs to customers — how to supply a market that has unexpectedly grown 2,342% in one month — which is part of the reason for closing the offer.
3,712 is actually more than triple Canada + USA LEAF sales in July, and far more than the sales of any other electric car on the market.
3,712 is also ~40% of the ~9,325 Tesla Model 3 reservations that Model 3 Tracker estimates have been made in Quebec, and a similar percentage of the ~11,000 electric cars currently registered in the province. (Note that the numbers from Model 3 Tracker are not official but are estimates based on voluntary inputs from reservation holders and certain assumptions regarding total reservations and overall regional split based on the inputs.)
When Bruno approached a Nissan dealer about the idea, the dealer was hoping to get a boost from 1–2 LEAF sales per month to maybe 4–5 sales in the month. Clearly, he had no idea what he was signing up for. (Note that this dealer won’t get overwhelmed with 3,712 Nissan LEAF deliveries. Rather, each LEAF will be delivered to the Nissan dealer closest to the customer, 95% of whom are in Quebec — naturally, the news got so much attention it brought in Canadian customers from outside of Quebec as well.)
Bruno and I also didn’t have a clue the group buy would get this big. Bruno was inspired by a Colorado Nissan LEAF group buy that sister site Gas2 covered and we recovered and republished on EV Obsession and CleanTechnica, which is where Bruno read about it. That group buy got a lot of attention because it brought in a whopping 248 customers in 4 months. Don’t laugh — that really was seen as a huge number at the time. Clearly, Bruno and Quebec have diminished that total to a footnote in LEAF sales history, but it’s important to give credit to Nissan and the Colorado organization (SWEEP) that organized it, since it is what inspired the Quebec group buy.
Late last year, Nissan LEAF sales fell off a great deal in the United States and elsewhere, presumably because people started delaying electric car purchases until the long-range Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, upgraded or second-gen Nissan LEAF and BMW i3, and other long-range electric cars hit the market. However, as I’ve long argued, if the price is low enough, there’s still a massive market for shorter range Nissan LEAFs like the ones on the market at the moment. Getting down to ~$20,000 makes the cars practical for a lot more buyers, and this group buy success seems to prove that. (Good promotion/advertising is surely at play here as well.)
As we published yesterday, ~87% of vehicles on US roads could be replaced with the first-gen Nissan LEAF or other electric cars with a similar range as long as the drivers can charge the car at home overnight. They don’t even need public EV charging at all.
If an automaker like Nissan can offer an attractive electric car like the LEAF that doesn’t have more than ~100 miles (~160 kilometers) of range but costs $20,000 (USD) instead of $35,000 (USD), it can pull in a lot of sales. The combined discount from Nissan and dealers in Colorado totaled $8,000 ($5,000 + $3,000), bringing the base purchase price down to $21,010 USD. If the Quebec discount just comes in at $5,000 USD ($6,400 CAD), it would bring the base purchase price down to ~$26,300 CAD. Adding in subsidies of $8,000 CAD from the Quebec government, you get down to a base price of ~$18,300 CAD (~$14,300 USD). That’s an offer that’s hard to pass up, as the results of this group buy show.
I’m curious to see what additional group buys do for the LEAF and other electric car models in the coming year or two. As Bruno is keen to note, these do help a great deal with advertising and countering the Osborne effect.
As a reminder, you can sign up to get notified about new group buy discounts for electric cars here.
We are now working with Bruno on his future efforts, and will hopefully make some more exciting announcements soon. Stay tuned to CleanTechnica!