PARIS -- It's true that sales of Nissan's Leaf have picked up momentum this year in the U.S., but what is the geographic mix across the country? Where is the Leaf doing well?
At the Renault-Nissan dinner tonight, CEO Carlos Ghosn challenged the scrum that engulfed him to name America's No. 1 Leaf-loving town, the place where 1,000 of the electric vehicles were sold in August alone.
The reporters guessed Los Angeles and then San Francisco, followed by Portland and New York. Nope, none of those, Ghosn said.
"C'mon, tell us already," one scribe finally pleaded.
"Atlanta," Ghosn said. "Atlanta is the No. 1 city in the sales of electric cars. Atlanta!"
"No. 2 is San Francisco, " he said. "No. 3 is Seattle and No. 4 is Los Angeles. These four cities represent 80 percent of the sales. So when 80 percent of the sales are concentrated in four cities you can imagine the potential you are going to unleash when the other cities follow."
Ghosn then got the usual question. Do those Leafs earn money for Nissan?
"We are getting there," he said. "Are we amortizing and depreciating everything we have spent? No. But if you look at margin of profit -- the direct cost of the car and the revenue of the car -- we are getting into positive, which is good for this technology."
Nissan said Wednesday that the Leaf's U.S. sales rose 36 percent to 21,822 units through September. Total year-to-date Nissan sales, including Infiniti, increased 13 percent to 1.1 million vehicles.