In 2011 a crack task force was sent to the United States by a Japanese manufacturer for a car that's making headlines. These men were promptly trained to be experts in their field. Today, wanted by thousands of owners, they survive as a rapid response unit. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire The N-Team.
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...cue the music.
We suspect that if you were to call out Nissan's new rapid-response task force to fix a problem with your new LEAF electric car their entrance probably wouldn't be anything like as dramatic as everyone's favourite soldiers of fortune. However, if the workings of your new car leave you dazed and confused, they'll still be a welcome sight.
Set up to ensure that any initial glitches are ironed out before they become big problems, Nissan have trained a team of 30 technicians led by 10 lead engineers in the intricate workings of the new 2011 Nissan LEAF. These electric components could perplex your local mechanic more used to oily machinery so Nissan want to ensure owners have the reassurance of a team who can rectify any problems with their car.
Is this paranoia on Nissan's part, or perhaps an admission that the LEAF may not be as reliable as people are hoping?
Not necessarily. “This is our first electric vehicle. The market must be properly prepared,” explains Hitoshi Horie, manager of quality and customer satisfaction at Nissan.
Nissan will have the technicians ready and waiting should any problems be discovered, so they can be quickly dealt with improving the ownership experience for the customer. Nissan have even more services available to their customers in Japan, including a 24-hour emergency hotline, free towing and unlimited charging at dealerships. All are designed to add value to the product and to offer reassurance to customers for whom the LEAF is likely to be their first foray into electric motoring.
It's not the first time that a car manufacturer has mobilised teams to help with customers' issues. Toyota ran a similar scheme known as Smart teams, though unlike Nissan's proactive approach, Toyota's teams were designed to respond to customer complaints after the recall crises from the last few years. Horie confirms that Nissan's approach is to be prepared rather than reactive. It's a view shared by companies like Tesla Motors, who provide strong aftersales services in the form of the Tesla Mobile Service Rangers for their Roadster customers, understanding that for many the car is their first powered by electricity.
The team will be initially based in Los Angeles, one of the first launch areas for the LEAF. It's then expected to spread to other launch sites. For a full run-down of all our articles on the 2011 Nissan Leaf, you'll want to check out our Ultimate Reference Guide
Unfortunately, they're unlikely to be known as The N-Team.