Off A Cliff: Nissan, Toyota & Honda Light Vehicle Sales

Off A Cliff: Nissan, Toyota & Honda Light Vehicle Sales

Nissan, Toyota, and Honda U.S. light vehicle unit sales were down 14-18% in Sep 2019 vs. prior year.

Meanwhile, Tesla Q3 unit sales are expected to rise ~100% YOY.

The sales slowdown has the potential to put auto dealers already struggling with shrinking profit margins in an even more precarious position. With outgoing model-year vehicles clogging their lots, automakers had to pony up record incentive spending of more than $4,100 a vehicle in the third quarter, according to researchers at J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Subaru Corp.’s streak of monthly sales increases is over. The Japanese carmaker’s run ended in September after 93 months. Deliveries dropped 9.4%.

Sales of Nissan brand pickups and sport utility vehicles -- which tend to be more lucrative than passenger cars -- dropped 21%, while deliveries for the Infiniti luxury division fell 44%.

Toyota Motor Corp. saw it sales plunge 16% in September, with both its namesake and Lexus luxury brands declining by double-digit percentages. Deliveries fell for almost every model, including its best-selling RAV4 crossover and Camry sedan.

Who will survive the coming bloodbath? Model 3 is the best car, for value. V10 has the most features, entertainment, Smart Summon, Autopilot and Full Self Driving on the way with OTA updates.

Look for Tesla and others to assault the "protected" business of SUV and Trucks within the next 18 months.

Joshan | 1 October 2019

But, What about the charger that is out in Portland?!?!?!

SamO | 1 October 2019

Nissan, who claims to be a leader in EVs is now running out of tax credits without creating even one compelling electric vehicle.

Toyota is still focused on the 2 Hs, Hydrogen and Hybrids. They are in serious trouble and I expect a merger between them and a technology company.

Honda is in the worst shape since their entire lineup is where Nissan was 10 years ago. A short-range vehicle, which will sell in small numbers but doesn't enable replacement of their gas line.


kevin_rf | 1 October 2019

I thought Nissan had 70,000 vehicles to go until it hit the magical 200,000 phaseout of the federal credit. Am I missing something?

JAD | 1 October 2019

Looks like Model 3 2019 US sales will be higher than Leaf 2010-2019 total sales in the US and 2019 world wide sales of the 3 won't be far behind 2010-2019 world wide Leaf sales either.

vmulla | 1 October 2019

SamO | October 1, 2019
Nissan, who claims to be a leader in EVs is now running out of tax credits without creating even one compelling electric vehicle.

This is where we're just not seeing the same picture. Just ask yourself why is Nissan losing the tax credits? Perhaps it's because they sold enough EVs?

SamO | 1 October 2019


It took them 10 years to sell a few hundred thousand cars. Worldwide. Because their cars are trash.

Am I really going to have to spell this out to you again. FFS.

SamO | 1 October 2019

2019 YTD Sales (via

Hyundai Ioniq: 281
Hyundai Kona: 577
VW e-Golf: 3,042
Nissan Leaf Plus: 9,111
Chevy Bolt: 9,266
Tesla Model 3: 114,500

vmulla | 1 October 2019

Negating millions of miles of ICE miles matters --- look beyond Tesla too.

SamO | 1 October 2019

Your reading comprehension is terrible. I can’t keep spoon-feeding you over and over the exact same set of facts and then have you forget them every time I mention Nissan.

Their cars are overpriced and ugly. People don’t like them and they can’t take road trips.

“July did not improve, but August marked a return into the thousands

We had expected sales to increase in June with more LEAF Plus availability. However, that was not the case as sales again declined. In June, Nissan sold just 1,156 LEAFs. In July, Nissan sold only 938 LEAFs in the U.S. It's not a huge improvement, but sales were up in August with Nissan reporting 1,117 LEAF sales in the U.S.

But September did not follow the upward trend

We had high hope that the upward sales trend for the LEAF would continue into September, but that was not the case. Nissan reports that it sold 1,048 LEAFs in the U.S. in September. This decline is despite the fact that the LEAF Plus is really here and available now. To us, it's now clear the LEAF is just not a favorite among U.S. buyers.”

Joshan | 1 October 2019

Are those sales numbers to actual buyers, or just to the dealerships?

vmulla | 1 October 2019

I think you are too wrapped up in your Tesla fandom that you're not able to see anything beyond it.

We discussed this earlier, Nissan Leaf isn't a match for Model 3 - and the sales numbers would show that. But trashing good EVs just because they are eclipsed Tesla is just not helping the mission.

kevin_rf | 1 October 2019

Oh great, another SamO vs. vmulla Nissan Leaf war. Face it you guys, neither of you are going to change the others opinion.

vmulla | 1 October 2019


vmulla | 1 October 2019

I look beyond Tesla and I do not think trashing good EVs is good for the mission.

You want to bash all the ICE vehicles, let me join you on the fun :)

jordanrichard | 1 October 2019

SamO, most of the things you are stating as fact is really subjective. Things like “best car for the value”, “overpriced”, “ugly” etc. What you value in a car may not be what others value. The market will decide what is overpriced.

PteRoy | 1 October 2019

The model 3 is the best value car? Based on what. Because it has a large screen and can accelerate fast?

It’s missing many standard features that other auto makers offer.

I get it. Tesla has taken the 3 things that have been engraved into our brains through marketing. Futuristic looks (like every movie and cartoon portraying the future) that a bigger screen is better than a small screen (TVs, computers and phones) and that a fast car means a better and more expensive car (why people dream of super cars)

I like my Tesla. But I’m not oblivious to the truth. The car is missing many standard features found in cars both half its price and certainly cars that are in the same price. It’s a great car. But best value? Nah. The genesis g70 is the best value car that I know of.

howard | 1 October 2019

PteRoy | October 1, 2019
The model 3 is the best value car? Based on what. Because it has a large screen and can accelerate fast?

It’s missing many standard features that other auto makers offer.

I get it. Tesla has taken the 3 things that have been engraved into our brains through marketing. Futuristic looks (like every movie and cartoon portraying the future) that a bigger screen is better than a small screen (TVs, computers and phones) and that a fast car means a better and more expensive car (why people dream of super cars)

I like my Tesla. But I’m not oblivious to the truth. The car is missing many standard features found in cars both half its price and certainly cars that are in the same price. It’s a great car. But best value? Nah.

WOW, I could not agree more. Be prepared to be violently flamed, but thanks for speaking your mind. It is very refreshing.

lbowroom | 1 October 2019

I was reminded how "great" those cars with all those features are to drive this past weekend as I picked up a rental at the airport. 2018 VW Jetta Turbo with BSM lights in the mirrors. Wow, what a totally awful experience. I won't go through it painstakingly, but if need to remind yourself, go drive something else. Its all wrong.

lbowroom | 1 October 2019

It's like comparing a flip phone to an iPhone and saying the flip phone is better because it has a hard keypad.

bjrosen | 1 October 2019

If you measure "best value proposition in it's category" by sales then the Model 3 wins in the small luxury car segment. The Model 3 outsells the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C class combined, and by a wide margin. All of those cars are similarly priced, around $50K, and the Federal rebate on the 3 isn't high enough to skew the market anymore, $1850 isn't very much off of a $50K car. Objectively when comparing the cars the Model 3 has the highest performance, by far the lowest energy costs, is higher tech and has the most advanced auto pilot. If you are comparing interiors then the Germans win, they have real leather seats not Naugahyde and their seats are more comfortable. The Germans also have much better fit and finish, nobody is complaining about the paint on a Mercedes. But what's important and what's not can only be judged by the market, and by that measure the Model 3 wins. Personally when I look at the Model 3 AWD at $50K, that seems like a deal to me. I can't say that for any other EV that's out there right now. The Bolt is a good car for $30K, but it costs Chevy a lot more than that to build it so they have to sell them at a loss. The Leaf isn't selling in any numbers this year, so clearly the market doesn't see it as a good value.

howard | 1 October 2019

I spent last week driving my 2019 Volt. Just amazing the features it has that my 2018 Tesla does not. Almost as amazing at how much better it drives.

PteRoy | 1 October 2019

Cognitive dissonance my friend.

JAD | 1 October 2019

Isn't the volt the car that was recently discontinued because no one bought them? Must not be quite as good to most people as it is to you Howard.

BuffaloBillsFan | 1 October 2019

For me, any car that can get another ICE off of the road is a car to support, regardless of the company.

The fact, though is that EVERY car company that is invested in building ICEs (Nissan included) still has their heads stuck in the sand, or alternatively up their asses. The true all electric car revolution will come when more start-up all-electric car manufacturers start selling cars that can actually compete head-to-head with Tesla. I can’t wait for the day when oil/filter changes and tune-ups are a thing of the past. That will NEVER happen with Ford/Chrysler/Toyota/Nissan/Honda/BMW/Audi/GM still making cars. They are stubbornly still sipping at their plastic straws in their empty plastic throw away Coke cups and insisting that the melting ice still tastes just like the Real Thing.

I applaud Nissan for making a valiant effort to produce a viable all-electric car. And this particular one has a niche in the all-electric market. However their overall business model makes it a doomed attempt, and IMO not a sincere effort to move away from ICE engines.

VMulla, I agree with you that Nissan put forth an effort. If they sell more Leafs, more power to them! But it seems to me to be a half-hearted effort at best . . .

That said, I would rather see a Leaf than a Suburban on the roads.

End rant.

howard | 1 October 2019

JAD | October 1, 2019
Isn't the volt the car that was recently discontinued because no one bought them? Must not be quite as good to most people as it is to you Howard.

That is very true since I bought a second Volt instead of a second Tesla. Funny I thought this started off as a features thing. It is also very true that my 2019 Volt has more/better features than my double the price Tesla.

82bert | 1 October 2019

You’re the best, howard.

RedShift | 1 October 2019

Volt is better than a P3D in driving?

Go buy a Prius and sell your P3D.

It’s not just fast. It handles well, soaks up bumps nicely, has accurate steering, and provides great auto driving features.

You just aren’t that good at discerning qualities in an automobile, Howard.

And I get that you are already categorizing me as a ‘fanboy’ and that I’m ‘violently flaming’ you.

You can keep your opinion man. I don’t much care for yours, and you, mine. No big deal.

kevin_rf | 1 October 2019

I miss my Prius. All told the Prius is an excellent vehicle, the technology moved on and Toyota didn't. Have him buy an e-tron instead.

SamO | 1 October 2019

Clueless Nissan fanboy doesn’t like Nissan sales numbers, blames random internet poster for being mean.

There, fixed it for you Vmulla.

Earl and Nagin ... | 1 October 2019

If it weren't for Tesla, there wouldn't be a Volt.
You're welcome.

Other that being a money loser to GM because they have to squeeze 2 power trains into it, the Volt is a good car.
Enjoy your Volt. I'll enjoy my Model 3 but I'm glad someone is buying Volts to reward GM for following Tesla's lead.

JAD | 1 October 2019

The Volt sold a good 3-4 days worth of Model 3 sales for 2019. I think the market has spoken as to which car is better. Volt sales for 2019 3,666, Model 3 around 375,000. So, that makes you a 1% Howard, you must be proud.

Sad thing is the Volt is an OK, car. Back in 2013 I considered it and the Tesla killing Cadillac ELR until I test drove a Tesla. There is/was no comparison. Even the Model S easily outsells the Volt every year at 2-3X the price.

SamO | 1 October 2019

Model S outsells the Leaf, Bolt, iPace, ID3, Taycan, e-Golf, Volt and Kona.

kevin_rf | 2 October 2019

Shouldn't you also be lumping the number 2 selling electric car in Europe, the Renault Zoe into that rant. After all, it has similar range to a leaf, but over the last quarter in some markets has actually given the Model 3 a run for it's money on a month to month basis.

One size does not fit all.

vmulla | 2 October 2019

Nissan Leaf fanboi, huh? :)

How about someone who's dedicated to Tesla's mission, and not Tesla?

@SamO, I get nothing no matter what the sales numbers are for any automobile company. I am experiencing a good EV in the Leaf and am sharing it, just as I do for my Tesla.

SamO | 2 October 2019

And yet you seem utterly confounded as to why very few people share your love for then Leaf. Why their sales are dropping, despite increased range and other added tech.

Terrible value. Ugliness. Poor performance. You can pick whatever reason you think the public feels “meh” about the Leaf. But what you can’t do is claim that it is a “popular” choice.

However, This thread is about why Nissan, Toyota and Honda ICE sales have gone off a cliff. I’m no longer feeding your implacable hunger for Leaf validation.

The best that Nissan could do is cancel the Leaf and build a decent electric car. Something with range, styling and aesthetic. But this is Nissan so ...

billtphotoman | 2 October 2019

@Samo - Rampant fanboism will push more people away from Tesla than pull them towards it. We enjoy both our $50K net model 3 LR and $18K net 2018 Leaf SL. Not all BEVs need to be "road trip capable" and if one looks at the top 10 selling US vehicles (mostly CUVs) clearly utility and price matter more than "style" to most people. Tesla hasn't shown an interest in building cars for the "mass market" (under $30K CUVs, sedans) so we need someone else to fill that space.

SamO | 2 October 2019


If you think mild criticism of Nissan's strategy to accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation is rampant fanoboyism, then you are going to hate the people that go the to Leaf forum and post about Tesla. ;-)

This is about the business of selling cars.


What percentage of Nissan's sales were EV in 2009? How about in 2019?

If you really want to fulfill the mission of Tesla and accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation, it would do you some good to look at what NISSAN could do to make that a reality.

The leaf is what it is. But it's intention is not to ACCELERATE any change.

andy.connor.e | 2 October 2019

Its more likely that oil companies are lobbying with automakers to try and get Hydrogen powered cars to become a thing. It'll just be another way for oil companies to control the fuel source for transportation and have a global monopoly. Pure electric is the way out because anyone can generate electricity.

I see this as the exact same BS with cannabis. The flower and fiber plant (marijuana and hemp) can be used to make nearly any kind of material and be stronger, as well as nearly limitless medical benefits. The only reason why this plant is illegal is because ANYONE can grow it and make their own medicine or materials with it. Thus, if its completely legal, it disrupts the global market of existing products. Sound familiar? It should. The global market monopoly has existed for 100 years and they dont have intentions of allowing disruption without a fight.

SamO | 2 October 2019


Global oligarchy in fossil fuels, with zero government accountabilyt. They've written the rules of the road and continue to fund politicians, think-tanks and astroturfers to get to the heart of the matter.


Toyota's way to avoid electrification is Hydrogen.

Even more "negatively accelerating" than Nissan's EV efforts to date.

See, now isn't everyone happy that I am classifying things along with Elon's goals?

andy.connor.e | 2 October 2019

Hydrogen will never work globally. Areas like Iceland are using it for buses, but it will never be a global commodity. We have the ability here to stop producing fuel at a location, shipping it to a distribution center, and having everyone go to that location to pump the physical fuel into their cars.

RedShift | 2 October 2019


The Volt was a well made car. I remarked as such after test driving my sister in law’s volt a couple of years back. The interior materials were quite good, car felt solid. It’s mission was to be the American Prius.

However, to say it ‘drives better than a P3D’ is extreme. Knowing Howard, his main complaint will be the NVH factor again. He continually confuses performance with road noise control.

andy.connor.e | 2 October 2019

GM clearly believes in their products since they have since discontinued their entire sedan line. It was their "we're sorry for crushing the EV1" car, even though they discontinued it. The bolt made it to market before the M3, and they still dont even market it despite spending over 100 billion dollars a year on advertising. Why would you ever support a product from a company that doesnt care about their product?

andy.connor.e | 2 October 2019

Geez i read that wrong sorry GM did not spend 100 billion a year, that was the combined total of the top 200 spenders.

jimglas | 2 October 2019

Enjoy your volt

SamO | 2 October 2019

GM ad spending was $3.5B in 2015

nwfan | 2 October 2019

I’m a previous 2x owner of Chevy Volt.
Owned 2011 vin 1508 for 4 years and a 2017 Volt for 2 years. They were good cars to hold me over until model 3.

2017 had an electric range of 45 miles during warmer months and 32 in the winter on full charge. My Model S at 330 in summer and 290 in mild TX winters.

Volt burned gas. Tesla does not. My Volt took 2 to 3 hours to charge to 45 miles. My model 3 adds approx 45 miles in roughly 5 to 10 mins at a 150kw sc.

Didn’t have AP on the Volt. Traction control on Volt not very good. Tesla better navigation, route planning. Tesla no gas tank. No tailpipe.

I liked the regen paddles on the 2017 Volt. That’s about it as compared to my Model S and 3. Just completed a 2500 round trip in my Model S. All electric. Volt in same time frame luckily to get 45 miles electric and having to wait 2 to 2.5 hours for a full charge back to 45 miles.

Sorry, but after 6 years of driving 2 Chevy Volts total of 100k miles they do not compare. My 2011 Volt cost about 45k before the 7.5 credit. My 2017 Volt was about 42k again before the 7.5 credit. 2011 had onstar included for 5 years. 2017 think it was 3 months free. OTA updates on Volts. Nope. Mac updates? Take to dealer for a price.

2017 did not have homelink. Both my Tesla do. Volt would spin front tires on hard acceleration. Neither Tesla does. Model S AWD. Both Volts front wheel drive. No frunk in volts. Oil change in both. 2011 volt require high octane gas. Can’t remember if 2017 did. Neither of my Tesla need oil change or gas. Model S rides better than volt. My model 3 better car that keeps getting better. I purchased my 1st model S and kept the 2017 Chevy volt until model 3 Replaced it. I rarely drove the volt when I had choice between 2016 S and 2017 volt.

Volt had Apple car play. Tesla does not.

avanti5010 | 2 October 2019

Seems SamO has diarrhea of the mouth. A loud-mouthed know-it-all. All car sales (except Tesla) are down, so don't just dump on Nissan. I have owned three LEAFs and three Teslas and both suited our purposes well. We now have a 2108 LEAF which makes a fantastic urban/suburban runaround and a Model 3. The Model 3 is a great vehicle, but I've had more problems with my Teslas. Nissan/Infiniti will have a great array of new EVs in the near future.

howard | 2 October 2019

Thank you to all above for your insights. I am a bit more pragmatic and not caught up in the hype.

2019 Volt:

Adaptive Cruise that works flawlessly and more intuitively, not so much on the Tesla. I don't use TACC.

Cross-Traffic Alert System, not on the Tesla

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone alert stand-alone integrated system with intuitive indicators in the side mirrors and extremely reliable, Tesla system in on the center screen and is not reliable.

Back up camera comes on every time without any delays, not so much on the Tesla.

Never had to reboot any function of the Volt, reboot frequently on the Tesla.

Regen is a three-level/function. Standard on is more aggressive than the Tesla and using the regen paddle is even more aggressive.

Well working auto headlights, not so much on the Tesla.

Well working auto wipers, not so much on the Tesla.

Better intermittent wiper adjustments, not on the Tesla.

Keyless entry works flawlessly, not so on the Tesla.

Leather seats are more comfortable.

Heated steering wheel, not on the Tesla

CarPlay with IOS 13 and recent OTA is a much better UI for my needs. Not so on the Tesla (no hands-free texting), I like Waze navigation better. Flipping between modalities is much easier. CarPlay anticipates and is more intuitive. Make a reservation on OpenTable earlier in the day and when leaving it auto prompts me if directions are needed.

Road noise is less.

The ride is less harsh even with the 18" winters underinflated on the Tesla.

Paint, finishes, gaps are much higher quality than the Tesla.

Tesla has AP that I don't use. A year later and I still don't feel comfortable with the beta functionality.

Tesla has a modern single central touch screen interface that I find more cumbersome/distracting to use when driving. My wife hates it.

Tesla has fart mode, fireplace mode and a plethora of games that I personally don't believe belong in a car. I would prefer it like my iPhone where if wanted I download the app.. I had no idea I was really paying 65k for a rolling entertainment/arcade center. This seems to be the thrust of the updates. Mostly gimmicks to generate media buzz.

Tesla does have dog mode that I would never use but for those that do, I am sure it is appreciated.

Tesla has a sentry mode that I find almost useless with the amount of data it puts on the drive for non-substantive events. I have seen a couple of posts where it has recorded real issues which I am sure is appreciated but not sure it resulted in any real compensation or arrests. I guess if I had damage I would take the time to search all the files and be thankful, but wonder if it actually results in anything positive.

Volt has a nice back hatch that allows for much greater versatility.

Tesla has nice styling except for the front end.

Volt traction control does not compare to Tesla but I don't drive either car at that extreme.

Volt has nice acceleration but does not compare to Tesla but I don't drive either car at that extreme.

My wife drives the Volt every day when in AZ and will not drive the Tesla at all in CO.

Volt has OnStar which I have found very useful and beneficial over the years.

2019 Volt has had several OTAs. One of which updated CarPlay after IOS 13 was released. Very nice improvement.

2019 Volt battery rating is 53 miles I typically get close to 60 in AZ.

Tesla battery rating is 310 and diminishing every month since new. Down to approximately 292. I know it should stop at some point but not sure when.

By my estimation, it is less expensive to drive per mile at 40+ mpg on the highway at least outside of CA.

I charge at home, office, and destination. I don’t use superchargers so to me it is the same either way.

Volt Premier with Driver Confidence II package, and Adaptive cruise, MSRP was $42K purchased for $25k after all discounts, incentives and tax rebates.

Tesla P3D+ MSRP was $77,500 (includes 2k FSD) purchased for $62,000 after rebates (includes -5,000 P+ rebate, and +2k FSD)

The Volt is not a Tesla nor was it designed to be. It is a car we drive 95% on battery but take on occasional road trips. It has features and functions that I find superior to the Tesla. To me the Volt at 25k was a significantly better value. Which is one of the factors that contributed to my not buying another Tesla.

I do find the Volt more relaxing to drive, but the Tesla is a blast if by myself, safe and I am in the mood. If not for the significant devaluation on the Tesla I would seriously consider selling and buying another Volt. As it is I will wait to trade the Tesla in on another BEV next year when I can utilize the tax credits to help offset the loss.

Have fun with that. I don’t mind at all.

vmulla | 2 October 2019

"If you really want to fulfill the mission of Tesla and accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation, it would do you some good to look at what NISSAN could do to make that a reality." @SamO

Nissan could have done a lot more, but they're busy pursuing profits from ICE.

I'm just thinking what can *I* do to accelerate sustainable transportation. That led me to the Leaf, and also leads me to encourage others to consider EVs over ICE vehicles.

Now, if this is going to be a ICE bashing party, I'm all in - let's bash Nissan's ICE division together :))

RedShift | 2 October 2019


I have not experienced the range drop you are mentioning. My one year old LR RWD charges to 317.
Did you actually drive and get 292 miles?

I knew a lot of your complaints were to do with NVH. I am a picky guy when it comes to NVH, but I’d say the 3 is about average, not great but not so bad as to make a big deal.

However, I understand your POV better now.

I don’t agree with many of the points you raised, consider some to be very exaggerated.