Nissan seems to be regretting what turned out to be an over-zealous sales strategy for the Leaf.
The brand started sending its Leaf EV to all 50 states in February regardless of whether or not there was adequate infrastructure.
Now, Nissan vice president of sales Al Castignetti is admitting they “were a little bit arrogant as a manufacturer when we went to the 50-state rollout. We had assumed that there were people just waiting for the vehicle who would raise their hand and say, ‘Give me a Leaf, give me a Leaf, give me a Leaf.”
It’s a reality that has the brand rethinking how it will improve its strategy in a market where EV demand is poor in most areas.
“We didn’t prepare our dealers properly,” he said to Automotive News. ”We’ve pulled back a little bit and are telling our dealers, ‘You don’t market this car traditionally. You don’t put it in the newspaper. You need to go and find the electric car buyer in your market.’”
High costs have proven to be a big part of what keeps people from venturing into the uncharted territory electric cars present most drivers. Nissan had hoped to address that, at least in part, by producing a portion of its Leaf inventory at its Smyrna, Tenn. plant.
If Nissan can reduce the car’s current pre-tax credit $32,500 starting price, it might help the cars sell. Sales are still proving to be well below CEO Carlos Ghosn’s expected 20,000 unit sales — through November the company had reported selling 8,330.
On the other hand, it might just be a waiting game. Indianapolis, for example, is planning to switch all its municipal service vehicles to either electric cars or plug-in hybrids by 2025.
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[Source: Automotive News]