Some customers who have signed up to buy a Nissan Leaf electric car have reported getting the run-around from Nissan. According to Bloomberg, customers have reported being removed from the car’s waiting list and having their estimated delivery dates change wildly.
Bloomberg reports that Nissan is delaying some orders because potential buyers don’t yet have a 220-volt charger installed. Another buyer claimed his delivery date changed from April to May, and then to July -- with no apparent explanation from Nissan. One wealthy Leaf customer was reportedly so sick of waiting for his car that he hired a helicopter to fly over Californian ports to see how many cars were there.
The problem may be due in part to the Leaf’s complicated sales process. Potential buyers must register online, pay a $99 deposit, and have a 220-volt charging station installed in their home. Nissan will then contact the buyer when a Leaf electric car is available. Given the slow rate of production for the car, that could take some time.
Other orders were initially delayed or lost due to technical problems with the new ordering system. In April, Nissan began revamping the ordering process and retraining its sales staff, according to Bloomberg.
Nissan previously told us that only 46 percent of Leaf pre-orders were converting into actual sales: sometimes because the potential customers lived outside the Leaf’s launch markets, sometimes because they changed their minds about the cars, and sometimes because the customer had yet to install a home charging station.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf have gotten off to a slow start; the company now expects to sell between 10,000 and 12,000 copies in the U.S. this year, versus an original prediction of 20,000 cars. As of April 21, just 500 Leafs had been delivered to American customers, partially because production was delayed by Japan’s March 11 natural disaster. Nissan plans to ramp up production for the rest of the year in order to meet its sales targets here, and is even preparing to build the Leaf in Smyrna, Tennessee from 2013.