Nissan LEAF Sales Are A Testament To Dealers’ Role In EV Success

8 months ago by Steven Loveday 46

2017 Nissan LEAF

2017 Nissan LEAF

2017 Nissan LEAF Interior

2017 Nissan LEAF Interior

While Nissan only sold 14,006 of its all-electric compact car last year, the Nissan LEAF is succeeding in areas where dealerships support and educate. Ted Christiano, executive manager of Boulder Nissan, shared:

“The LEAF now accounts for 80 percent of the new cars we sell here. We’re doing a great business with them.”

“I’d like to have more EV models from Nissan. How about an all-wheel-drive EV?”

While some dealerships might consider the Nissan LEAF a sales failure, Christiano believes that if they were taking all of the right measures to market and sell the vehicle, Nissan would need to build more.

There are 1,100 Nissan dealers in the U.S. and Christiano is selling two to three hundred LEAFs per year. He promotes EVs and distributes educational materials and EV-friendly info on social media. Boulder Nissan even sends salespeople out into the community with the Nissan LEAF, to educate people on how EVs work. Christiano also hosts EV-based events, including ride-and-drives.

Boulder is not the only place where EVs and specifically, the Nissan LEAF, are catching on. Despite the low overall market share of EVs, there are EV market clusters all over the U.S. In Seattle, the LEAF outsells Nissan’s top-selling Altima. According to Nissan’s director of electric vehicle marketing and sales, Brian Maragno, LEAF sales have doubled or even tripled in Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Kansas, and Minnesota, over the last couple months.

Milwaukee Nissan dealership owner, Jeff Rosen, pointed out that he rarely sold any LEAFs until he opened a second dealership in Madison, Wisconsin. He said:

“It’s amazing the traffic we get from the LEAF there. Madison is a very green-conscious market. It differs from area to area in the country.”

Christiano concluded with a few tips for other dealership owners:

“We do a lot in the community, very close to home but also around the state.Where it really started for us was having a dedicated EV specialist on the team. He does EV outreach and education. He visits local schools and talks to students about the vehicle and how the technology works. He joined various groups and government advisory boards. It seems like every time we do a public event, the customers just follow us back to the dealership.”

Source: Autonews

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46 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales Are A Testament To Dealers’ Role In EV Success"

  1. MTN Ranger says:

    A Rogue EV would sell like gangbusters. Nissan needs more than one EV model in the US.

    1. SJC says:

      I agree, some moves seem so obvious.

    2. Murrysville EV says:

      Sure, because Nissan likes to lose money.

    3. Preston Weld says:

      This is total BS. We own a Leaf and my Nissan dealer has tried to sell me an oil change on four separate occasions. The worst part of owning a Leaf is the dealer.

  2. Someone out there says:

    Excellent work being proactive like that. All dealers should do that, at least there would be a point to having them then. Imagine if all dealerships sold on average 300 LEAFs per year!

    Hopefully the LEAF will be a lot easier to sell when the new generation is released in April. I think that will give Nissan and the LEAF a huge boost.

    1. acevolt says:

      Its being released in April? Link…

      1. Someone out there says:

        That is my estimation. Nissan is dumping the prices now to get rid of stocks and the end of those campaigns are in March so it is reasonable to think that the new one will come just after that.

    2. AustinAnthony says:

      So basically across all the dealers in the US, each one is averaging selling about one Leaf a month?

    3. manbitesgas says:

      It helps that the Boulder community set up a pooled purchase program with Nissan, similar to what was going on with solar, and got monster rebates on it. Nothing kick-starts the EV-alanche like seeing hundreds of these cars on the streets.

      http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2015_10_29_what_electric_vehicles_can_learn_from_the_solar_market

  3. DangerHV says:

    It is encouraging to see that not all dealerships are all bad. I’ve spent the last hour reading about them trying to continue the Tesla direct sales ban in Connecticut (my home state)
    What is also encouraging is how much success these dealers can have if they just try. This quote should be bulk emailed to all dealers (somehow…)
    “It seems like every time we do a public event, the customers just follow us back to the dealership.” with a link to this article.

    1. AustinAnthony says:

      For Tesla, it is not an issue of weather a dealer is bad or good, it is the dealer business model that is not viable since it is unfair to the consumer. Tesla sells direct to the consumer and has no inventory stuck on a huge lots across the country like the 16,680 dealers have. Those dealerships lots cost millions in real estate costs and many millions more in inventory just sitting there, not to mention the cost for the workers or the taxes for all those assets. Those costs are passed directly to the buyer, which is you. Based on NADA data the dealers only average selling 10 cars per week (8.6 millions sold in 2016 across 16,680 dealers). As you can see, you are paying thousands more over what the manufacturer price just to support the dealership business model. No thanks!

      1. SJC says:

        WHETHER not “weather”
        Tesla fans seem to believe ALL dealers are bad. Do business with the good ones and not the bad ones, that is how the market system is suppose to work.

        1. AustinAnthony says:

          My point is that bad or good dealerships does not matter, the dealership system is flawed. You can wash your car with dirty water and dirty towels and no matter how good you wash it, your car is still dirty.

          1. SJC says:

            Analogies are not your major strength.

      2. realistic says:

        Distribution of retail product costs money one way or another. If you need to buy an expensive (10’s of thousands of USD or Euro) product of almost any kind you will generally end up in a distrbutor network. A boat, a backhoe, HVAC unit, air compressor… or a car. Distributorships take on the product inventory at their risk, deal with local regulation, taxation, licensing, etc., and in return have ways to be rewarded through the transaction chain: trade, financing, etc.

        Tesla’s approach to retail distribution is not by any means new, but it is unusual. Above all it isn’t free. Their G&A illustrates that. Musk himself has (wisely) said that a successful Tesla will eventually have a blended retail model that will have some non-Tesla-owned distribution. Frankly while I am not arguing against their current model I don’t know why they haven’t stepped in that direction already. The company has some wealthy and loyal adherents that would be excellent distributors.

        1. MaartenV-nl says:

          You are confusing a dealership and distribution network / organization with a sales model.

          For many of the products you mention, like cars, boats, HVAC or a backhoe, in many parts of the world the “build to order” salesmodel is dominant.

          The upside of build to order is that the customer can choose from a far wider range of products, custom made to their whishes beside saving a lot of money.
          The downside is that you can not buy and take home your new toy on a whim.

          It is not the dealer model that is causing the problems in the USA. It is the “build to stock” sales model.

      3. Counter-Strike Cat says:

        Tesla is hiding their unsold stockpile in rented underground garages.

        1. And…you are holding how many for them?

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Anti-Tesla FUDsters have been repeating that conspiracy theory for years, literally.

          Sadly for you trolls, not a one of you has ever come up with a single VIN number to support your crazy FUDster conspiracy theory.

        3. Trace says:

          Are they the same warehouses that have Saddam’s WMDs Bush couldn’t find?

  4. petah says:

    i was told on Saturday from the EV/Leaf specialist at my local Nissan dealer that the new Leaf will be out this year with a 60KWH battery!! good for over 200 miles, can’t wait, plus it’s supposed to change it’s look, thank goodnesa..

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      For those wanting to see the redesign, Google “new leaf spy photos”. The pics I’ve seen include camo stuff, but you can still see what looks like a Leaf with some styling cues lifted from the Murano. Looks like it could be a winner, especially if it does have that 60kWh/200 mile battery.

      With the Bolt and the Leaf 2.0, I think we’re about to hit a classic tipping point in terms of market acceptance of EVs. I’ve been joking about how I’ll know we’ve arrived when my neighbors, who don’t know an EV from a cuisinart, suddenly start telling me how great EVs are, even though I’ve had one for nearly 4 years.

      1. Bret says:

        I completely agree with you Lou.

        The new 200+ mile affordable EVs will definitely improve the uptake. In order for EVs to break out of the 1% of sales range, they need to be a complete replacement for an ICE vehicle. That means at least 200+ miles of range and ubiquitous fast-charging.

        1. Counter-Strike Cat says:

          Chargers must be universal and standard, not locked and incompatible. Tesla is the destroyer of EVs.

          1. And every time you drop a $100,000 on installing a single new Multi Standard DC QC (CHAdeMO + CCS), Tesla comes and destroys it?

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Feeling a pinch in your “shorts”, are you CSC?

            Glad to see that FUDsters like you are getting exactly what you deserve for telling Big Lies to support your bet against Tesla’s ongoing successes.

  5. ffbj says:

    Madison is a small college town like Austin, very progressive due to the campus.

  6. Devin Serpa says:

    Sounds like dealership’s are in the way of EV success.

    It is a conflict of interest to allow a business to sell a manufacturers EVs that profits less than the ICE counterpart. They could undermine the sales.

  7. manbitesgas says:

    It helps that the Boulder community set up a pooled purchase program with Nissan, similar to what was going on with solar, and got monster rebates on it. Nothing kick-starts the EV-alanche like seeing hundreds of these cars on the streets.

    http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2015_10_29_what_electric_vehicles_can_learn_from_the_solar_market

  8. AlanSqB says:

    I bet Nigel at Boulder Nissan had a lot to do with it. He is a huge EV advocate and genuinely nice guy. Always enjoyed chatting with him while borrowing their DCQC.

    1. Stan Adamson says:

      I agree! He is a tremendous asset. I deliberately bought from another dealer closer to my home, in order to strengthen dealer acceptance and support, but I have also had a great time talking to Nigel when using their quick charger in Boulder.

      1. Nigel Zeid says:

        Hi this is Nigel at Boulder Nissan. I am very touched to read your kind words. I realize that many of you have not had the best of experiences at other dealerships across the country. Although you might be in a different state, and I don’t expect to sell you a car (although I could), I would like to give you all my mobile number (720-878-6757) and my email address (nigel@bouldernissan.com) and if you have any questions regarding the LEAF, I would be delighted to help you any way I can.

        1. Steven R Loveday says:

          Wow Nigel. Thank you very much! That’s great of you.

  9. Mister G says:

    Floridian’s love gas guzzlers and Nissan dealerships don’t care about LEAF sales.

    1. Samwise says:

      The whole point of the article is that consumers love what is most effectively marketed to them… In fact the entire advertising industry is built on this simple premise.

      1. Denis says:

        Spot on!0

  10. Bret says:

    I bought my Leaf from a dealer with a “Leaf Specialist” on staff. They were running ads on Craigslist and Auto Trader for $200 leases. Typical of most dealers, when I arrived for my appointment, they didn’t have the $200 Leafs available. Yup, the old bait-and-switch, which is one of the reasons I hate dealers. They can’t ever seem to just be honest. All they had on the lot were the top-of-the-line SLs, but they did make me a smoking deal.

    The good thing was they really did have a Leaf Specialist and he worked very hard during the sale. He got me registered for my rebates and my HOV stickers. He got me registered on the charging networks. He told me about the EV electrical rates and recommended chargers. He even gave me a great orientation of the car.

    So, the dealer definitely added some value to the sale.

  11. Appala N Kolli says:

    Dealers play a great role, they need to show and talk about Nissan Leaf as EV, let them put a demo leaf at Costco, Wal Mart, Target,Sam’s club, talk with customers, give fliers, talk about federal and state gov discounts, lease, easy charging at home in night, even at any plug outside the offices, see they talk with all these organisations to install Chargepoint or good charging stations, see Leaf sales zoom and BOOM.Its company and the distributor’s involvement coupled with training few sales personnel with EV’s, not leaf only but also how to make a Realistic sales talk. Which the customer ultimately beleive, buy and become your brand ambassador.

  12. Appala N Kolli says:

    Thanks

  13. Cyana says:

    Nissan reams their customers. Just ask any 2011 Leaf owner that had their battery fail after the warranty period. $5k for a new battery plus installation! I’ll never buy another Nissan again.

    1. ricegf says:

      I remember the transmission failing on our Chrysler minivan every 50,000 miles. I paid about the same cost in current year dollars for each replacement, and felt the same way. Fingers crossed on my 2012 Leaf SL, though – the battery is holding up well thus far despite the Texas heat.

  14. Murrysville EV says:

    What a propaganda piece.

    My Nissan dealer (Pittsburgh area) was very unhelpful throughout all 3 years of my lease, even declaring that my 36-mile range in the winter was ‘normal’, and they continued to offer me oil changes.

    Western PA remains an EV wasteland, but I now see more Teslas than I’ve ever seen Leafs. I’ve never even met another Leaf owner, except some guy from Cleveland.

    Nissan makes money on Altimas and Rogues, with little incentive to push an old money-losing EV. With the Bolt out now, Leaf sales will tank.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Living in Buffalo, Leafs and FocusEV’s are unbelievably rare. I see a Tesla S about every other week, but even thats alot compared to the other cars. And I think you hit the nail on the head with the 36 mile range in the winter time (no better than my 2011, and now, 2012 volt).

      I would have bought a Leaf or Focus EV if I could have found them, (I was looking for an INTERIM car – as this volt gets sold to a friend when my BOLT arrives) but they are almost nonexistent in the used market. The guy I bought my 2012 volt from bought a 2014 leaf and flatbedded it from maryland (his other car was a big FORD SUV with a huge trailer. He got a huge deal which is impossible locally.

      The rare car that comes on the market is very high priced compared to almost anywhere else in the country, probably due to the rarety.

      Regarding the 60 kwh Leaf 2.0 (if indeed the battery is this big, and not some 40 kwh ZOE ‘me too’), if the battery is air-cooled and still has the problem with ‘missing bars’ after a year or two, then that in itself will limit sales.

      No one in their right mind will want to pay a huge premium for a large self-destructive battery.

  15. Tilyon says:

    EV dealers are the problèmes, that is why Tesla dont wants any. 150.dollars for verifying them batteries.

  16. CLIVE says:

    Nissan Dealers are the worst.

    Clearly this one dealership is rhe exception.