RV uplift forecast for LEAF
The prediction follows a comprehensive refresh of the segment-defining electric vehicle, with the first European-built models now leaving the production line in Sunderland. But as the new car is readied for launch, Nissan is preparing for its predecessor to reach the used car market and an even broader customer base.
Over the coming months, the carmaker will begin marketing the LEAF under its Cared4 used vehicle package, comprising background checks, a 12-month warranty, 30-day exchange programme and ongoing aftersales, with an additional certificate showing the battery’s state of health.
‘I guess today the typical used buyer hasn’t got an electric vehicle on their radar because it’s so new and they don’t perceive that it’s available or within their price range,’ O’Neil explained.
‘Launching the vehicle within Cared4 means if we have unconverted new prospects for LEAF we could perhaps market them a used one. It’s yet to be defined, but I think it’s reflective of our approach with Qashqai. Residual value positioning is still strong after six years, so repeating this on LEAF can only help.’
Additional reassurance about reliability is being provided through an extension of the battery warranty. All LEAF batteries, backdated to include all existing customers, are now covered for rapid loss of capacity. Units that lose over a quarter of their capacity in the first five years or 60,000 miles will be replaced or repaired under warranty.
Demand for new models is also steadily ramping up. The LEAF recorded its best-ever monthly sales in March, following a £2,500 price reduction in January. Budget announcements concerning Benefit-in-Kind tax breaks for EVs, grants for home charging units and a tightening of the Congestion Charge exemption to vehicles emitting less than 50g/km CO2 are all expected to fuel demand for used EVs, O’Neil said.
‘As the volume of new cars has ramped up the way it has, we may start to see an effect where, as electric cars become more accepted in the marketplace as a whole, that’s reflected in the used car market – where you’ve got a relatively high number of customers chasing a relatively low number of used examples simply because the market ramp-up has taken the shape it has.’