Nissan LEAF shows poor early resale value (Study)

The Nissan LEAF is the bestselling electric car in history, with global sales expected to pass 200,000 units this January. But in 2015 the LEAF was found to have very low resale value by one study.

Used LEAF prices dropped an average 48 percent from their sticker prices when new, according to used-car website Carlypso. Researchers compared the sticker prices of new 2015 models to the average prices of lightly-used models at wholesale auctions. Note that auction prices are lower than retail prices, so used-car shoppers won’t see quite as much of a discount.

The LEAF was somewhat of an outlier on the list of cars with the worst resale value. It was the only electric car in a group that mostly consisted of large sedans and vehicles from brands with somewhat troubled images. While low gas prices saw sales of SUVs shoot up in 2015, they aren’t necessarily the reason for the LEAF’s low resale value. A few gas guzzlers, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Mercedes-Benz SL-Class sports cars and Chevrolet Express van, were also on the list.

The LEAF was among the first wave of modern electric cars to go on sale in large numbers, and that means it’s also in vanguard when it comes to used electric-car sales. Greater numbers of LEAFs are coming off leases and beginning to populate used-car lots, and prices have remained low throughout the year. The overall electric-car segment is still very small, after all, and the $7,500 Federal tax credit available to buyers of new models lessens the savings they might get from buying a used car.

One possible upshot of this is that any buyers who are looking for a used LEAF will probably be able to get some good deals. They may not qualify for tax credits and other incentives, but if resale values really are this low, there could still be some opportunities to snag a bargain.

Posted by Stephen Edelstein

Stephen's obsession with cars is almost too hard to quantify. From the latest electric car to the classics, he's interested in anything with four wheels. When he's not writing, he can be found searching the Internet for a car he hasn't seen before, or reading a good book. He has a Master's Degree in History from Clark University. He currently lives in Connecticut.

  1. I just purchase a new 2015 Leaf SL (sticker price: $36,150) for a net price of $15,150, a total discount of 58%. This is a greater drop in price on a new Leaf than your quoted 48% drop on a used Leaf!

    How can that be. Here are the figures: $7500 Federal tax credit, $2500 California rebate, $6000 dealer discount ( Hayward Nissan) and a $5000 Nissan rebate for taking out a car 72 month car loan.

    Used 2013 same Nissan models were selling for over $14,000 a few weeks ago in California.

    I plan to keep the car at least five years and then we’ll see how much it depreciates.

    Oh, and did I tell you that the loan is a zero interest loan?

    To me, this was a sweet deal for a great all EV car.


  2. Alfred Anderson January 5, 2016 at 2:58 PM

    Comparing to sticker price is totally misleading. Here in California, the cost to buy new is $10,000 lower than that. $7,500 Fed Credit & $2,500 State. So, how much did it drop compared to the real price? I have noted this trend and plan to buy a used Leaf this year. But living in California, I want a 2013 model or later where they started using a better battery for hot weather. So, I look forward to several of those coming off Lease. 🙂


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