Nissan Leaf tops Norway Oct. car sales, extends electric success

OSLO Fri Nov 1, 2013 12:29pm EDT

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OSLO Nov 1 (Reuters) - Nissan's all-electric Leaf became Norway's top-selling car in October for the first time, extending a success for electrics after Tesla Motor Inc.'s Model S led September sales, official statistics showed on Friday.

Norway's five million people have been among the most enthusiastic buyers of electric cars thanks to high subsidies, free parking and recharging points, avoidance of road tolls and use of bus lanes to avoid queues in commuting.

Last month, 716 Leafs were sold, or 5.6 percent of all cars sold in Norway, and ahead of the Toyota Auris on 679 and the Volkswagen Golf on 646.

So far this year, the Leaf is the fourth-biggest selling car with a 3.2 percent share.

"It's the first month that the Leaf is on top," Paal Bruhn of the car retailers' association, which compiles the statistics, told Reuters. "And it's the first time with electric cars on top two months in a row."

Tesla overtook all others in September with 616 sales of its Model S luxury car, thanks to a shipment that met a backlog of orders. Tesla sold 98 cars in October.

Overall in October, 925 electric cars were sold in Norway, or 7.2 percent of all sales against 3.4 percent in the same month last year, the association said.

In many nations, electric cars make up only a fraction of a percent of all sales.

One study by a Statistics Norway expert estimated that tax breaks on importing electric cars, free parking and other benefits could be worth $8,100 per year per car.

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