Nissan Shuffles EV Sales Leadership In America

FEB 6 2014 BY STAFF 16

Another Executive Change When It Comes To The Nissan LEAF In The US

Another Executive Change When It Comes To The Nissan LEAF In The US

Nissan has announced a leadership change when it comes to their of Director of Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales and Marketing in the US.

Mr. Perry Takes Over As The Sales And Marketing Guy For EVs In America

Mr. Perry Takes Over As The Sales And Marketing Guy For EVs In America

After only 10 months of looking after the promotion of the LEAF, Erik Gottfried has be relocated as Nissan’s new “Director of Customer Quality and Dealer Network Development,” while Toby Perry has taken over the reigns leading the EV charge for Nissan.

“With Toby’s nearly 20 years at Nissan, the breadth of industry knowledge he brings to this role will be invaluable as we aim to increase visibility of LEAF in new markets,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Parts & Service, U.S.A. “As the conversation around EVs evolves and Nissan LEAF sales continue to accelerate, we’ll rely on his well-rounded experience to keep the momentum going.”

What exactly does this move mean?  Was Nissan unhappy with Erik’s job as the LEAF was underbuilt in Smyrna, TN for basically his entire stay as the LEAF sales lead?  It is hard to say.

What we do know is that Nissan just put out a questionnaire to judge the reaction to a 150 mile range LEAF (that story here), and what the consumer might pay for that option.

It makes sense that this new sense of direction to get customer input has come from Mr. Perry, as has been put in charge of the program just in time to coordinate the next generation of electric offerings from Nissan in America.

We spoke to a Nissan representative about the changes and Mr. Perry’s role in the company (no relation to former executive in charge of the LEAF’s initial roll-out Mark Perry), and they said he will report to Billy Hayes, VP of Global Sales for the LEAF and Dan Mohnke, who was also just named  Chief Marketing Manager and Marketing Operations.

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16 Comments on "Nissan Shuffles EV Sales Leadership In America"

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Just in time to roll out the extended range Leaf, I would have thought.

sell it directly. dealerships are hurting sales of the leaf.

Not in the Puget Sound region they aren’t.

In the Edmonds dealership I chatted with the salesman as I was waiting during a service visit.
Turns out he owns a Leaf 13, already took it to Portland using quick-chargers, and just the previous weekend he got a couple of tecchies from the Eastside suburbs who came in for just any car, to leave with two new Leafs.

As least this dude was as EVangelical as they come. And he’s not alone in this dealership – and that’s nothing compared with Eastside Nissan who actually hosted last fall’s Plug-In Day celebration on their roof.

What Nissan dealerships have you encountered that hurt Leaf sales? I mean, in what part of the country?

Three things are required to help improve LEAF sales:

1. More range – 100 miles real world range (or at least 40 kWh battery capacity).
2. More durable battery – losing 20% capacity after 3 years and 26k miles is unacceptable.
3. More charging infrastructure – more charging stations need to be built in clusters so that they can be better relied upon – Look at Tesla for how to do it:

Start installing at least 2 DCQC stations per location (look at Tesla who tends to install 4-8 plugs / location) – ideally near major roadways. L2 stations should be added in clusters of 4 or more – ideally near spots where one might be stopped for at least one hour. And place all of these stations well away from prime parking to keep the spaces from being ICEd!

I honestly don’t think the battery capacity issues actually hurt sales all that much. Most consumers don’t research a car that much before buying. And the more and more mainstream buyers that start buying the Leaf will have no idea.

Don’t get me wrong – it needs to be fixed if they want to keep their reputation up and keep customers happy long term. but hurt sales? I don’t think so.

When most of them lease, why would they care about what happens to battery in 5 years?

Dear Mr. Perry,

Congrats on your new position at Nissan USA. A refresh of the Leaf would go a long way in increasing sales of your EV. A 150 mile real world range would elevate the vehicle beyond a mere CARB compliance vehicle. Also, Americans don’t usually buy fugly vehicles. Make the new Leaf sexy like a Tesla– and you’ll have customers falling over themselves to buy it.

Thanks very much for your time and best of success in your new job. 🙂

No need for a redesign, just pinch that of your colleagues at Renault for the Zoe, which is a beautiful little car!
When the 150 mile range version comes out as a GTi it will be AWESOME!

The Zoe needs to come to the US, but not with a separate battery lease.

Renault are apparently to offer the car with the battery included in Norway.

Any Zoe which did go to the States would have a Nissan badge anyway, as Renault are not going to go there.

I doubt they will bother though, as in the US the vast majority of sales are for bigger cars, and anyway Nissan won’t want to use a Renault design, so they will simply redesign the Leaf at some stage, hopefully to something not quite so hideous, although they have never managed to make anything as lovely as the Zoe.

Nissan has made plenty of beautiful cars. Case in point, the GT-R.

I’m not keen on sports cars, so didn’t think of it offhand.

Please name one vehicle by any manufacturer that does not have a group of people that think it is fugly. Oh wait.. You can’t.

I was giving a personal opinion on the Leaf’s appearance versus the Zoe, not trying to state a universal truth.

It is however an opinion which is widely shared, which tends to be of importance to marketing folk.

You right all brands have a group of people that criticize the design, but the problem is when the majority of people think is fugly like i3 and Leaf.

I’m not a fan of the styling of the Leaf, nor am I a fan of the styling of a Prius. That did not stop me from buying the Prius, and it is beautiful every time I buy gas. When a true >100 mile range EV comes along at a price I can live with, styling will not be the prime consideration.