It's a big statement.
The Nissan Leaf has been instrumental in converting thousands of customers to take the plunge and buy an electric vehicle. In fact, it took the massively popular Tesla Model 3 to overtake the Leaf as the world's best-selling electric car earlier this year. With that in mind, Nissan's latest statement about its all-new Ariya is quite telling.
"I would expect the Ariya to outsell the Leaf because EV uptake is going to accelerate," said Nissan Europe's EV boss, Helen Perry, in a statement shared by Autocar UK. "The Ariya is an SUV bodystyle, which we know is very popular," she added.
Although Perry admitted that the market is highly volatile and didn't make any specific projections about the Ariya's sales prospects, we see many reasons to have faith in her claims. Not only does Nissan have a solid reputation as an EV automaker, but the Ariya is a far more emotive vehicle than the Leaf, having retained much of what made the Ariya Concept so appealing.
Even though the Tesla Model Y has a longer claimed range, the difference of 16 miles between the two isn't what we'd consider a dealbreaker.
Perry's second point about the popularity of SUVs is another factor that could see the Ariya find many homes, whereas hatchback body styles like the Leaf are less popular and sedans that once sold strongly have been canned entirely. With a starting price at the $40,000 mark for the Ariya, the one advantage still in the Leaf's favor is its lower initial outlay of $31,600. However, both these prices are before tax incentives are taken into account.
With quality issues continuing to plague the Tesla Model Y and the expectation that the Ariya will retain the Japanese brand's reliability standards, it's going to be interesting to see how many buyers are won over when Nissan's EV arrives later in 2021.