Nissan Leaf Electric-Car Buyers Really ARE Different, Says Dealer

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2011 Nissan Leaf SL

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

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So who buys a Nissan Leaf?

Not, as you may be unsurprised to learn, the sort of person who doesn't really care what they buy, says one Nissan dealer.

As Nashville Business Journal reports, Leaf customers are already pretty sure they want a Leaf when they walk onto the lot.

"It's typically a very educated customer who's doing the Leaf," explains Broderick Alley of Downtown Nashville Nissan, "they come in hoping it fits their needs."

Leaf customers often walk into the dealership knowing they want a Leaf, but speak to the dealer to ensure it's suitable for the mileage they drive, that they like the feel of the car and that they can afford it. Buyers are often looking to use the Leaf rather than an existing gas-guzzler.

Nissan says most people can't believe how easily the 73-mile EPA Leaf meets their daily needs--but ultimately the limited range still puts some people off.

It seems the initial purchase cost of the Leaf isn't proving much of an issue either--as the majority of customers lease, rather than buy.

Typically, a dealer may sell 60-70 percent of its vehicles and lease the rest--but Alley says that nearly every one of his Leaf customers lease. Favorable rates--as low as $139 per month with $2,995 down--means the car's $36,050 pre-incentive price isn't an issue.

Leasing is also popular as it helps maintain buyer confidence, in cars which are still new to many people.

And at the moment, the Leaf's relatively slow sales seem to reflect that lack of confidence from the buying public--even if the car's customers have discovered its capabilities.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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