As Nissan draws closer to releasing its Leaf electric car, dealers will be under pressure to ensure Leaf buyers are capable of supporting and living with the highly anticipated mass-market electric vehicle.
Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s chairman of the America, insists that full transparency is especially important with a vehicle like the game-changing Leaf. Nissan expects dealers to fully explain the limitations of the Leaf’s 100-mile driving range and the necessity of having a home charger installed. Around 115,000 consumers have requested information and Nissan is projecting an ambitious presale figure of around 25,000 units by the time the Leaf arrives at dealers in December.
In order to acquire a Leaf, potential buyers must follow a four-step process. The first step is the reserve stage, where the customer makes a refundable $99 deposit and fills out a pre-screening questionnaire where driving habits and home electrical systems are disclosed. The second step is set up by the dealer, where a home assessment is conducted to estimate the cost of wiring the home charging system. Step three is where the charger is installed, and it’s expected to cost around $2200, not including tax incentives. After these steps, the customer may then finally order and pay for their Leaf.
Why go through all these proceedings? Nissan does not want the Leaf in the “wrong hands.” A successful product launch means customers stay happy and a driver who commutes more than 100 miles per day or is incapable of charging their own vehicle will not be satisfied.
“We may tell the customer, ‘Look, you’d be better off buying an Altima or a Sentra because your driving patterns are not ideal for this car,’” said Tavares. “We want to be transparent. It is fundamental for us to tell the customer what the car can deliver.”
The Leaf will start from $32,780, but Nissan says the electric vehicle qualifies for $7500 in tax credits. Lease programs begin at $349 per month, while up to half of the cost of the home charger can be recouped through tax incentives (up to $2000).
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)