Nissan To Deliver Only 5 Leafs In 2010, More Delays Imminent?

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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Uh-oh, Nissan. There’s been word a-brewing on car forums for that the carmaker is experiencing delays in delivering the much-anticipated all-electric Leaf, which is slated to start arriving next month.

But only five Leafs will arrive in the U.S. next month — one for each of the five states the Leaf is initially launching in, according to Ray Ishak, fleet sales manager at the Campbell Nelson Nissan dealership in Seattle. VentureBeat first reported in September that the initial rollout would be just 200 cars — a small delivery to begin with, especially considering that only five states will see the Leaf in the initial launch.

“Nissan is saying there will only be one car per state for December delivery so they can just keep face and (live up to) their original statement of December delivery,” Ishak said.

It appears that Nissan has recently changed promised delivery dates, making dealers nervous. First, it pushed back the delivery of demo cars until at least March, Ishak said — initially, one “demo” Leaf was promised to each dealer by December, to be used for test drives. Nissan also recently balked at a request to deliver 25 Leafs to the city of Seattle by May 1, telling Ishak the best it could do would be five cars by the city’s hoped-for delivery date. Cars that were initially scheduled for December delivery were pushed back to January, and Ishak says he currently doesn’t see any cars in queue for December production.

“If you want … your customers to get car a sooner [rather] than later, don’t order silver,” Ishak recalled the Leaf’s operations manager advising Nissan dealers. Evidently there’s a big backlog on that color.

Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary declined to give numbers on December deliveries. However, she told us in an email: “The reports regarding December deliveries to consumers are speculative. In order to prioritize our first consumers, we have shifted back the delivery of our dealer demos. Consumers in all of our launch markets instead are getting the opportunity to test drive the Nissan LEAF on the Drive Electric Tour.”

The changes have been enough to worry dealers and hopeful buyers alike, some of whom vent on the popular forum. Ishak and others have suggested that the carmaker may be intentionally scaling back supply, perhaps because the Leaf will sell for a higher price in Japan ($45,000 compared to about $33,000 in the U.S.), or to take advantage of favorable exchange rates.

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Comments (8)
  1. Yes, I am one of those "first 200" and very, VERY disappointed in this delay. It has meant that I will lease the Leaf, when it arrives, rather than buying as the delay in getting the federal tax credit compromises my ability to fully pay the purchase price on delivery. Nissan has begun to "fail in my eyes" in terms of transparency in this delivery process for sure. However GM is WORSE with the Volt, which I am also one of the very first actual "customer orders" confirmed by GM (5 Aug). It appears that my Volt will not arrive until January either, and GM has been even less open and transparent about their "delivery delays" than Nissan.
    Heck, I am still considering getting the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid if Nissan and GM continue to play games and be less than responsive to actual consumers.

  2. Is it a materials supply problem?; an engineering problem; production line problem? Come on, you don't miss milestones unless you have a problem. Okey Nissan,you have been pretty open with us until now, what is the real problem?

  3. Ummmm... You may want to fix the headline. Only "5 Leafs in 2011" ? Don't you mean 2010? Or is there something more scary going on at Nissan?

  4. I am one of the 20,000 who have put down a $99 deposit for a chance to order a Leaf. Now it looks like it will be a year from when I made my deposit to when I can get one. I know schedules slip, but it's painful to see millions squandered on advertising before there is a product. Let's see ... I got some stickers in the mail, and saw a TV ad with a polar bear which was sweet but a little embarrassing. C'mon Nissan, you could sell 100,000 of these without a single commercial. I would appreciate it if you would put your resources into speeding up production.

  5. Good news for Coda indeed...the only way their $44K sedan could compete with the $33K Nissan would be if the Nissan wasn't actually available. Seems like they get a break after all. Hopefully it's enough to get them started and become competitive.

  6. I wonder how many LEAF orders will defect to the Ford Focus EV, availability of which might end up beating the LEAF to the punch (see story on Ford announcing rollout markets for the Focus EV).
    Maybe reality is, Nissan doesn't have as many committments to buy from their reservation list as they wanted. Or maybe their accountants finally got through to top management that they made a mistake pricing it $7500 less than the Volt with its smaller and most likely less expensive battery.
    Or maybe their engineers got word to management that matching the Volt's warranty for its temperature-managed battery could spell future shock for Nissan if the LEAF battery, which lacks a comparable management system, proves not to be up to the task.

  7. The Volt already has vehicles as shown completed and waiting for delivery for many dealerships.

  8. Not that Nissan's making itself proud but word comes today from one of GM's dealers in NY about "licensing delays" for the Volt, whatever that means - unspecified period of delay of course. It's been a HORRIBLE experience trying to ascertain when the car would come in - first Nov then "late Fall" now "we dont know". Your messing with people's ability to function. Great work, GM, you get pretty good reviews for your car but of course have to fail somehow: try Customer Relations 101 and Being Honest about Problems 102.

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