When you are follow the automotive world, at least the ‘electric’ portion of the automotive world, you get used to disappointment. So I confess when I first read the news Nissan would only be producing 10,000 LEAFs by March, and because they planned to also release in Japan in January, a full 2/3 of those would be staying at home, leaving only a lonely 3,300 for the US, it didn’t seem that far fetched.
Here is the quote exactly from Leon Kamins, general manager of Mossy Nissan of Kearny Mesa and Poway that has been making the rounds around the internet:
- “By the end of march 2011 there will have been roughly only 3300 leafs delivered nationwide. They initially wanted a lot more 10k, but they decided to launch in japan in january which diverted 2/3 of the cars. So of the 3300 they are parsing them out at a few hundred a month over the 4 months dec-end of march. There is also an order to the markets. They are launching the car first in the etec markets. San Diego, Portand, Nashville, Houston, Tuson-Phoenix corridor because this is where the infrastrucxture will be first, and they need that up in order for the car to be successful. So for anyone who is in an etec market who wants to join a dogpile and get into the non-etc ready dealer line they can, but they won’t be getting their Leaf as quickly. I’m not saying you won’t get it, you will, but you will cost yourself some time. Not trying to disuade you or anything like that, but I know that information is really scarce out there and I think it’s only fair that you know all sides of the story. I have the second most highest Leaf reservations in the country, I’m not hurting as far as customers, but I’m trying to be the dealer that really communicates with you guys and tells you whats going on from the backside. I think theres value in that, and based on the massive response I have received many of you agree.”
Now I fully understand how information gets passed around and sometimes misrepresented. One person hears something, then repeats it, another person hears that version and repeats it, etc. So Mr. Kamins probably has a very accurate account of what was told to him, or what he understands to have been told to him, but the end product just didn’t feel like it could be accurate. In this case, there was just too much information…and fresh information is hard come by in this business.
Look what we have here: Exact production numbers that differ from Nissan’s own estimates…long before Nissan ships/produces car #1. Exact number of US cars by March. And most strange of all, a plan to deliver virtually all Japanese orders as priority over the US. Now, Nissan could very well do something like this, but to admit it so candidly at a dealer convention in Las Vegas? Seems pretty unlikely. Why would they do that?
Then you also have to consider the source. Mr. Kamin’s dealership has found itself in a bit of a price war. As far as we know, Mossy Nissan was the first to ‘break’ the MSRP price tag, offering the LEAF at $500 off. Which then prompted Fontana Nissan to ‘one up’ Mossy by offering $1,000 off.
I’m guessing Mossy has drawn a line in the sand and is holding to $500 off. And as part of the justification for sticking with and/or ordering from Mossy, Mr. Kamins has put out this very logical reason to stick with his dealership over others, namely to ‘avoid the dogpile’ of ordering from outside of this ‘special’ region that Nissan will be delivering to first, ie) San Diego where he is, and not Fontana Nissan, which is in…Fontana. This statement further insinuates that Nissan will not be delivering the cars in the ‘early states’ by reservation priority like they said, but rather directly into cities inside those states who are part of special programs.
Still, a story is a story, you have to report the bad with the good, but given all of these things, we figured we should find out first if Nissan had a comment on this news, because if true, it would mean it was going to be a real bad day in the PR department.
Thankfully, the only news I have to report is good…specifically that according to Nissan, Mr. Kamins projections on worldwide production, and more importantly to us, deliveries in the US are not backed up by Nissan themselves, and are “purely speculative on Mossy’s part.” While adding that “Production allocation is based on number of customer orders. Our order window opens in a few weeks. The general manager has no special insight.”
I’m not sure if it was some corporate humor to clarify the original rollout areas, but they also took the time to reiterate, “5 states (not cities) start deliveries in Dec. We add Texas and Hawaii in January. The SE (south east) from DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, south to Florida and Georgia,” summing the whole thing up, by once again assuring the ‘rest’ of the US by adding, “then balance of the country by Fall 2011.”
So move along…nothing to see here. The story is that there is no story.