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Electric car, hybrid sales surge in February

Washington — Electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid sales rose slightly February amid high gas prices.

Nissan Motor Co. said sales of the electric Leaf were up 36.6 percent over February 2012 to 653 units, and about the same as the 650 sold in January.

“There are only a handful of 2012 Leafs in inventory, and the 2013s are shipping from Smyrna. We expect inventories to start going back in the positive direction through March and April,” Nissan said.

General Motors Co. said sales of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt rose to 1,629, up about 490 over January.

GM said Volt sales for 2013 are up about 60 percent over the same period last year. That followed a tough start in January after a disappointing 2012.

Still, February is much lower than recent months, including the 2,633 Volts sold in December. Nissan sold about 10,000 Leafs in 2012, nearly half of them in the final three months. In January, Nissan dropped the price of its new base-model 2013 Leaf EV by 18 percent to $28,800, and last year offered incentives in the wake of far lower than expected sales. The new Leafs should begin arriving at dealer showrooms in larger numbers in March.



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