DaveinOlyWA wrote:not sure we can really compare sales. they ideology of the two companies could not have been farther apart.
There is some truth to this statement since the vision within Nissan was coming from Carlos Ghosn while the vision within Toyota was driven by a product manager with a passion for the project. That said, it does not follow that sales from the two cannot be compared. In fact, I am doing just that! The Toyota Prius is considered a very successful environmentally-friendly product offering, so this is a decent yardstick to use for measuring the LEAF's progress.
DaveinOlyWA wrote:Nissan is fully on board with the LEAF and large volume manufacturing has been in their wheelhouse from day one.
Not so. Nissan restricted manufacture of the LEAF and its batteries to a single factory each in Japan during the first two years of production, just like Toyota did with the Prius. And, not surprisingly, they both sold approximately the same number of vehicles during that initial period. At the end of the second calendar year, both made some product changes and changed the manufacturing situation. Toyota moved the Prius to a different factory in Japan while Nissan expanded to three factories around the world.
Also, both products suffered from problems with their early traction batteries as well as difficulties with their 12V batteries occasionally going dead. Toyota has fully addressed both of those issues while the jury is still out on Nissan's response.
DaveinOlyWA wrote:Toyota started slowly with the Prius not realizing until MY 2004 that the demand was much greater than they could supply. This caused an extreme shortage until just before the release of MY 2007. So the sales numbers will be depressed but not by demand, it was by supply.
The LEAF has also been constrained by supply on multiple occasions. Often this has been due to the long lead time required to ramp up new versions of the battery, which has a very long lead time.
DaveinOlyWA wrote:Toyota simply could not transition existing lines to build the Prius fast enough. I remember press releases when they announced they were increasing US wide volumes by like 15,000 a year or so and thinking well that might cover a few states...
You are simply talking about differences in their go-to-market strategy. This is as much a product roll-out issue as anything else, so it is a part of the equation that is being compared. If Nissan has managed the introduction of the LEAF to the market much better than Toyota, then that will be reflected in the numbers here.
An important point to keep in mind is that both products have their major product improvement version occur during the sixth calendar year. That is when demand took off for the Prius and it is the point at which demand for the LEAF needs to take off for the LEAF to be able to possibly hold its own against the Prius over the next few years. Both products have drawn in competition as they have demonstrated the viability of the market, but Toyota was extremely successful at putting down virtually all of their competitors. I seriously doubt that Nissan can achieve this level of success with the LEAF, but it will be interesting to watch to see how things play out.