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In auto speak, conquest sales can be loosely defined as a legal form of stealing from others, as in taking potential sales away from other models or swiping buyers who are typically loyal to another brand. Conquest sales are highly coveted, and most automakers actually aim to make vehicles that will sway buyers away from another brand and towards a lifelong commitment to its models. If gaining conquest sales was Nissan's goal with the Leaf, early results show that it succeeded in spades.

According to Brian Carolin, Nissan's senior vice president for sales and marketing, the company has recorded 14,000 pre-orders for the Leaf in the U.S. alone. Of those 14,000, the company claims that 90 percent currently own and drive non-Nissan products. If true, the Leaf's conquest is almost without comparison. Few vehicles can capably convert loyal buyers over with this level of authority. Let's not forget, most potential Leaf buyers have only risked a refundable $99 at this point, so the outlook may change when real money is at stake.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 19 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      How can you have a conquest sale without an actual sale?

      Nissan is just having fun messing with the data right now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "90% are conquest sales"

      Getting a little ahead of yourself there Mr. loveday. Nissan haven't actually sold any Leafs as yet. A more accurate statement would be "90% are not currently Nissan owners."
      • 5 Years Ago
      90% are conquest sales because Nissan has never been a real competitor in the environmentally friendly car arena. It naturally follows that 90% of the people in the market for it's new all-electric car would have owned a different brand prior to jumping on the super-green option. I'm not saying you have to be a tree-hugger to own a leaf, but I am saying that most people willing to make the necessary sacrifices are. And those people already owned a Prius, Insight, HCH, or some other responsible car... and I can't find Nissan in my list (apart from the Altima hybrid, which was really just a Nissan wrapped Toyota). No surprises here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those who change their minds probably will try to buy it anyway... since they have a pre-order. That way they can sell the Leaf at a premium when it turns out that demand out paces Nissan's ability to produce.

      I am so anxious to see what happens next.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, the reverse is true. The hype only exists here and other "green movement" circles.

        The mass public have doubts, just like you. They have fear, uncertainty and doubt. FUD. And it is warranted. EVs are only seen on TV and in newspapers. The public rarely sees one. It is like Sasquatch.

        The demand will only INCREASE as more people see them on the road (driven by us "fanboys") and start asking questions. They will see them driving quietly, or hear their noisemakers.. and take notice.

        They will begin to see how they never need gasoline. And the smiles on the faces of drivers. And their fear will subside. And demand will take off quickly.

        This is not like the Tesla, where people simply cannot afford it. It is priced just above the Prius. The Leaf is no comparison to a Versa. The Prius demand is high enough that many will chose the Leaf instead.
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, you can stop exaggerating.

        My doubts have nothing to do with "fear" and everything to do with "value proposition". There is none in the foreseeable future with EV's. And it's only through huge government subsidies the iron move off the lot after the initial hype with resellers and fanboys (like you) wears off.

        There is no vast "conspiracy theory" against EV's. They simply offer little practical value for most Americans and their driving habits. Gee, and it's the right wing wackos who are accused of wearing tin foil hats.........

        • 5 Years Ago
        The point that car manufacturers have noticed is rapid development of better batteries and how mass-production of those is in fact cheaper than producing ICE car engines with billion moving parts (simplicity of structure).

        With proper volumes and very near future batteries ICE becomes completely obsolete for normal passenger cars, and for long-haul trucks and busses maybe that need relatively fast refueling hybrid is the way to go. and a bit later those could be made using emotors and fuel cells, we just need to replace gas-stations with hydrogen stations.

        Anybody with some knowledge can see that era of internal combustion engines in cars in ending. Electric engines just are superior to them in every possible way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As a practical vehicle. EVs of 100 mile range can offer real "practical value".

        For anybody with a second or third car.

        Of U.S. Households that own cars:
        34% own one car
        31% own two cars
        35% own three or more cars
        http://www.autospies.com/news/Study-Finds-Americans-Own-2-28-Vehicles-Per-Household-26437/

        More households have two or more cars, than households with only one car. Even if EVs can only replace one car in multi-car households, that's still a huge potential market.

        AND

        Anybody living in a city or around a city (suburbs) with access to permanent parking.


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        As far as practical value is concerned.... you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you factor out the EV fanboys and profiteers, the actual demand will be much less after the first model year.

        I want to see the sales numbers 3,4,5 years down the road once the hype (and government free money) has worn off. I really can't see more than 5K sales per year when a similar Versa could be had for thousands less.
        • 5 Years Ago
        - "They simply offer little practical value for most Americans and their driving habits."

        And what exactly do you think are the "driving habits most Americans" ?

        Where do you live? How much do you drive in a year? In a day?

        -------------------

        You autoblog people are fanboys too. Fanboys of horsepower that is not needed. Big engines, and big cars and trucks.

        Why is it that people continue to buy cars that can go 120 mph. Unless you own a private road, or visit a legal racetrack... it is illegal to go that fast in the U.S.

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        - "There is no vast "conspiracy theory" against EV's."

        You're right. It is not a conspiracy. Just companies trying to make the most money they can. And EVs put too much control into the hands of the owner. It would be like asking Congress to pass campaign finance reform. It is good for the country, but bad for politicians.

        -------------------

        - "after the initial hype with resellers and fanboys (like you) wears off."

        Funny how this "hype" is mostly negative. Most people have never driven an EV, and Most people still think they are unpractical, slow, unreliable, and unsafe.

        ----------------------

        Some automakers are making big bets that the EV enthusiasm will not die down. In fact, they are betting that once people see them on the roads. All that FUD will fade away.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering the 14,000+ who've put down a deposite so far are just private citizens living in the US, I have a feeling that the car will be in short supply at least until US production comes up to full speed. Considering that Nissan has a lower market share in some of the other countries the LEAF will be launching in than it does in the US, I would think the numbers of individuals switcing brands will hold.

      However, Electric Vehicles have historically been bought primarily by fleets, which are not part of the initial rollout numbers. As many urban fleets have no need for range beyond 100 miles, EV's are perfect for those applications. Many organizations want to demonstrate their environmental-friendliness. Also, fleet managers are more likely to look at total cost of ownership for their vehicles (where EV's gain ground), unlike many individuals who think first of upfront costs. I perceive that Nissan fleet sales have gone up recently-- so when fleet sales start, the number of cars switching brands may go down a little...

      One way or the other, the majority of people will not be buying the LEAF because it is a Nissan. They will be buying it because it is the best option out there for a mass-market purely electric vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      None of them are conquest sales because none of them are sales. They are deposits.

      Stop counting chickens before they hatch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They aren't sales, they are a refundable reservation. It puts you on a list to buy the car. Since the $99 is in no way a binding contract to actually purchase the car, all sales number derived from it are totally pointless.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't speak for any of the other pre-orders, but not only have I never owned a Nissan of any kind, but I can honestly say that I've never even considered buying a Nissan until the LEAF came along.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nicely done, Nissan!

      I am one of the 90% they refer to: I've never owned a Nissan in my life.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The whole concept of "conquest sales" reflects the flawed notion that consumers buy one car brand and stick to it for life. That may have been the predominant behavior in the 50s and 60s, but today's consumer is a lot more willing to move from brand to brand to get the car they think is best for them. It would be inconceivable that Nissan would launch the Leaf and have only EV enthusiasts who are brand loyal to Nissan consider it. Same thing happened with the Prius, which attracted all kinds of folks because it created a new category. I suppose Tesla has 100% conquest sales?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "claims that 90 percent currently own and drive non-Nissan products" does not mean that they don't have a Nissan in their garage, I interpret. It means they have a non-Nissan vehicle. More accurate way would be "90 percent currently does not have a Nissan product."

      Not saying Nissan is lying, but you need to take marketing statements with grains of salt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've never owned a Nissan, but I've always thought they've made a decent product. They just haven't produced one that I wanted enough over the competition yet.

      FWIW, have had a number of Toyotas, a Honda and a Subaru.

      Looking forward to the Nissan Leaf.
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