This week at the Detroit Auto Show, Nissan announced that the new Leaf S series will start with an MSRP of $28,800, which undercuts the previous least expensive Leaf by $6,400, representing a drop of 18%. Add up the incentives for buyers—$7,500 in federal tax credits, plus a $2,500 rebate in certain states, including California—and drivers can essentially pay “full price” for a Leaf for as little as $18,800.
A drop of more than $6,000 in a vehicle’s sticker price is undeniably a big deal. Normally, an automobile model’s MSRP only goes in one direction: up. Any official dip in price can make news, and when the decline is substantial, like whenVolkswagen dropped the starting price of the Jetta by $2,400, it can provide a major boost to sales.
Is that what we can expect from the new Leaf? Surely, the lower price will push some buyers into getting off the fence in the consideration of an electric vehicle. But Leaf sales have underwhelmed before, falling well short of sales goals in each of its first two years on the market, and they may do so again.