Nissan Joins GM in Selling EVs as Way to Save Money

Nissan Motor is joining General Motors and Tesla Motors, the largest US sellers of rechargeable autos, in promoting the money-saving benefits of battery-powered cars over saving the planet.

Nissan is readying new advertisements for the 2013 Leaf hatchback to expand its appeal beyond environmentally conscious drivers who’ve bought the car since it debuted in 2010, said Erik Gottfried, director of sales and marketing for the car. A campaign with “more-practical messaging” builds on a $199 per month lease offer that aided sales last year, he said.

“The environmental play hasn’t worked out in anyone’s favor so far,” Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc., said in a telephone interview. “They have to sell the benefits of why you would need this on a day-to-day basis.”

Nissan with the Leaf and GM with the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, want higher US sales of rechargeable vehicles after missing targets. Weaker-than-planned demand for cars powered wholly or in part by batteries has made President Barack Obama’s goal of getting 1 million rechargeable autos on US roads by 2015 increasingly unlikely, with fewer than 90,000 sold in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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