Nissan Restarts Ad Program In US In Anticipation Of Lower Priced LEAF (Videos)

5 years ago by Jay Cole 7

Nissan LEAF Polar Bear Gets Ready For Her Scene

Did you watch TV this weekend? If so, you likely saw the reemergence of the 73 mile electric LEAF in at least one or two ad placements.

Up until very recently, Nissan has been hesitant to promote the LEAF, other than a casual reference in its ‘family of cars’ advertisements.  But why would they?  They lose money on every discounted LEAF they sell.

However, for the first time since the great polar bear drive (‘making of’ ad below), Nissan has brought the LEAF back into the forefront in a big way.

Nissan sales, although improved last month (984 units), have been mired below 4 digits since September of 2011 (1,034 units).  However, according to Edmunds.com and Truecar.com, Nissan (on average) bumped incentives to $4,200 during the month of September to move each of those 984 units.

As point of reference,  the two outlets determined that GM had bumped incentives on the Chevrolet Volt to $6,500 to induce their best selling month ever in September (2,851 units).

So, why the return to aggressive marketing?

The answer is fairly simple.  Nissan is telegraphing the start of production in Smyrna, TN for December, which also means the introduction of a much cheaper, entry level LEAF, while trying to clear pricey 2012 inventory off their dealer’s lots.

While it is true this entry-level model will offer less features than the standard LEAF (no LED headlights, fancy NAV system, cheap wheels, etc.), it will also give the customer what they truly seem to want, especially considering how both Nissan and Chevrolet are obtaining sales of late.  A lower price.  Industry expectation is that this new, less sophisticated, LEAF will join the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in the “starting under $30,000” club.

On the LEAF price changes (and results to date), Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice-president, said that while the company still believes range anxiety is the number one stumbling block to adoption of electric vehicles, that with a lower priced offering, Nissan hopes to bring real volume to the sales of the LEAF.

For us, while we personally love six-figure, exotic, fast new offerings to test drive around the track,  cheap electric vehicles can not come soon enough for us to actually own.

Below:  Not Nissan’s newest ad campaign for the US…because that would be boring.  Instead check out this Nissan LEAF commercial from Japan, complete with huge CHAdeMO plug.

 

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7 responses to "Nissan Restarts Ad Program In US In Anticipation Of Lower Priced LEAF (Videos)"

  1. backstroke says:

    How long before Nissan spill the beans on MY13, sometime in November or December?

  2. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Will all future leafs, regardless of where they are made, have the larger battery? And will it be liquid cooled?

    MrEnergyCzar

    1. Dave R says:

      Any word that has slipped from Nissan execs regarding more capacity for 2013 have dodged the question.

      They have said that liquid cooling is not in the cards for 2013.

      Watch the earlier video w/Andy Palmer and Chelsea Sexton…

  3. Open-Mind says:

    GM should run a commercial showing a nervous Leaf driver stranded with a dead battery. Suddenly he sees the Nissan polar bear and he’s happy until he realizes it wants to eat him. Running for his life down the road, he sees a car approaching … it pulls up … he gets rescued by Maximum Bob in a Volt. The closing tag line says… “Volt – Electric drive without the anxiety.”

    Funny right? 🙂

  4. Herm says:

    No.. Maximum Bob gets out and fights bare hands with the bear.

    Under $30k before the $7500 tax credit?.. that would be very nice..

  5. kdawg says:

    Here’s a new Nissan ad. I think they poke fun at the Volt, saying recharging stations are the “real range extender”. And “do you really need gas to get there”.

  6. MrEnergyCzar, the 2013 LEAF will not have a bigger, or even different battery. It will just be produced in the USA for a “25%” cost advantage over production in Japan the the Yen exchange rate. Sorry, but Nissan has been intentionally misleading folks (and the media quickly misinterprets comments).

    Nissan advertised the LEAF would now go 250km (155 miles), instead of 200km (123 miles) in Japan. Naturally, this is more smoke-and-mirrors by suggesting that the new heat pump would be 25% more efficient than the resistance heater. Sure, if you have a more efficient heater, your range will REDUCE LESS, not increase. But, marketing folks aren’t required to use real facts, I guess. Plus, the car never went 123 miles for a normal consumer ANYWHERE in the world.

    In the USA, I think you will see the end of the 100 mile range advertisement, and more closely sticking to the EPA 73 mile range, as GM does with the Volt (only advertising EPA electric range).

    So, in summary, NO NEW BATTERY for 2013. Yes to optional 6.6kW charger, heat pump, leather seats, 17″ wheels, “North American Styling Cues”, stripped down “S” model (in addition to SV and SL), electric charger hatch release (maybe on the remote control).

    You don’t need a 6.6kW charger if you only charge overnight, as the 3.3kW will do that perfectly. Also, a heat pump will be more energy efficient, but only down to some temperature around freezing, and then a resistance heater will be used when colder (I do not know the exact temperature that Nissan will use, sorry).

    Therefore, in truly cold weather, you will still lose about 10% battery capacity per 40F below 70F, so at -10F, the battery would have 20% less capacity than at 70F. In addition, the resistance heater will be pulling 3-5kW to keep you warm, which translate to about another 20-25% range loss in an hour to the heater. Here’s the math:

    21kWh available energy for a new fully charged battery at 70F minus 20% for really cold weather equals 16.8kWh available. Then, subtract 4kWh for the heater use in one hour in really cold weather and you get 14.8kWh equals 59.2 mile range. All the 2011-2013 LEAFs will have this effect in really cold weather (minus 10F), with or without a new heat pump. This doesn’t factor in regular battery degradation over time and use.

    My point is that if you’re waiting for a 2013, and you can live without the 6.6kW charger and heat pump, I encourage you to get an awesome deal on a 2012 NOW !!! There are lots of great leases, from $199 – $299 for 24 or 39 months, with zero down (and in some markets $2000-$3000 down).

    Start saving gas today, but PLEASE understand the limits of a LEAF.