• Jan 14th 2011 at 2:01PM
  • 60
2011 Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

Right now, saying that the individuals who pre-ordered Nissan Leaf EVs are a little disappointed about the slow rate of deliveries would easily catapult you to the reigning monarch of the nation of understaters. After the Japanese automaker happily snapped up over 20,000 pre-orders for the electric hatch, the company managed to deliver a paltry 19 units in December. No, not 19,000 or 1,900 – nineteen. Not surprisingly, the Internet has erupted into a rousing chorus of conspiracy theories about the holdup, with everything from cars being held at the docks for wiring repairs to Nissan holding vehicles so that the Japanese market can be satiated first. According to Nissan, however, none of that is true.

The hangup boils down to a good old-fashioned corporate slip-up. Instead of parceling out the allotment of Leaf EVs to dealers like manufacturers typically do, Nissan decided to go with a more democratic but experimental online pre-ordering program. As a result, those who were first in line got the first cars. Everyone else has been left out in the cold.

According to PlugInCars.com, Nissan admits that in hindsight, it could have handled the vehicle's launch better. Moving forward, as production ramps up, the company says that it will likely return to a more traditional dealer model for the Leaf, and that in six months time, few people will remember the delay. Nissan says that while there have been some cancellations as a result of the delays, the company believes that it's been a relatively small number compared to overall reservations.

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Sources: Jalopnik, PlugInCars.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I forgot to add Kia and Mazda among others to the list of Asian car companies that DO get it, so I'm correcting myself and feel that Toyota/Honda/Nissan REALLY do seem pretty cueless lately...all apologies to the other Asian makes/models!
      • 4 Years Ago
      ah, just like when the smart-car had 20,000 preorders before it came out. How many customers actually followed through? lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        From my experience here with actual Volt pre-orders (not the BS list on gm-volt.com) the dropout rate for the Volt is perhaps as high as 50%. But there are still plenty of buyers ready to move up the list. Given the low commitment to place a Volt order (again, I mean real order, not the "interest" list on gm-volt.com), I don't find a 50% drop out rate to be alarming. Many people would love to think they are the kind of person who can and will blow $34,000 to use less gas (on a vehicle that really delivers on features like a sub-$30K car) and "save the planet" but a significant percentage of them are kidding themselves or have a change in plans.
      Bill T.
      • 4 Years Ago
      who the hell wants a 100% electric car. I travel from MD to ME every other weekend. I would not make it
      • 4 Years Ago
      I put in a resevation for the Leaf and was one of the first 8000. My "Order Date" was the Fall of 2011. Every person in a roll out area that put in a reservation at a later date or even during their second reservation period jumped in line in front of me. Even the rental places in the roll area areas were placed ahead of me. So to me the reservation did not get me anything. So I cancelled. I later had a change of heart and put a second reservation in and was given the exact same "Order Date" so I cancelled again. If you are not in a roll out state the reservation does not buy you much and I am 99% sure I will get the Focus instead because of the way they handled the reservation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First, the Volt is NOT having any production problems. Mine arrived in my garage yesterday and is VIN #679. I see Volt Forum members reporting confirmed VIN numbers around 1000 actually already ON RAILCARS heading to their dealers. It was hell finding a nonexploitive Chevy dealer to order a Volt at MSRP, but once I got past that barrier, the Volt production and delivery process was incredibly smooth.

      I am also waiting for a LEAF. I ordered and confirmed on DAY 1. For the first two months I got assurances on the LEAF "dashboard" that my car would deliver in December; I also got those same assurances from the LEAF "Customer Service" via phone conversations. About middle November my LEAF dashboard went to "February Delivery" and so did the customer service phone puppets.

      Production on the LEAF, with high visibility, started around October 10, 2010 (Volt production, by the way, started a MONTH later). Nissan has only delivered, as of 14 January less than 50 cars total in North America and maybe, maybe another 15-30 total in the combination of Europe and Japan.

      Do the math, the car has formally been "in production for about 65+ WORKING DAYS. This means Nissan is getting less than ONE CAR A DAY output.

      Does anybody really think that is what is actually happening? YIKES ! Clearly Nissan has had a defect issue with some aspect of the vehicle and to their credit they are holding deliveries to get it right, before putting the car in customer use. HOWEVER to continue to deny that there is any delay or production problem is BEYOND belief. There are 200 of us who confirmed our orders on 31 August and less than 40 of these buyers have actually gotten their cars. Nissan still has over 50% of "Day 1" orders to fill. And those eager EV buyers in "Tier 2" areas are still waiting to even place their orders. NISSAN CORPORATE USA is totally losing their buyer credibility and their continued assertions of "no problems, we are just pacing our rollout, etc." should strain the very fabric of beliefs held even by 5 year olds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, also I should mention that when Nissan promised to deliver cars in 2010, they surely knew about the 2 weeks and planned to be done in time taking that into account.

        But they missed that goal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How is this for confusing.

      Everyday I drive by the Nissan Motor Acceptance Center which is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (Literally, since it is next door to DFW Airport)

      This is an out of the way corporate building snuggled in with a bunch of other corporate buildings. No shopping, no restaurants, no leisure activities of any kind. Just a giant corporate office area that takes up several blocks.

      Yet they have been setting up a big "Test Drive the Nissan Leaf" display for the last week and this morning on the way to work I saw seven Leafs all in a row driving back up to the Nissan center.

      I'm sure some Leaf enthusiasts knew about this, but how would the general public know about it?

      Seems like a waste of some major marketing dollars. Not to mention they are using a lot of employee parking to hold the event, which can't be fun for the workers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Allthough that building is NNAC, thats also the training center for Nissan Central Div. Chances are those leafs are not for legal for street use, they will be used for tech training and test drives through the nissan complex, I've spent weeks there and its not THAT far out of the way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I had a unfulfilled preorder, I'm pretty sure I'd cancel it after seeing the upcoming electric Focus at the Detroit show...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I will pay $500 to anyone who wants to cancel Leaf preorder for their spot on the list.
        • 4 Years Ago
        19 delivered? That's beyond be leaf..
        • 4 Years Ago

        I like them both *a lot*. Speaking about the Leaf exterior design - the headlights are "bulging" for a reason - they diffuse the air stream hitting the sideview mirrors. Since the car is near silent up to about 50 mph, every whistling sound is heard in high fidelity and quickly becomes an annoyance (I test drove the Leaf - twice - and can actually confirm that this indeed works). But I missed the pre-order deadline and now grasping by the straws. The upcoming electric Ford has a sweet Euro flare exterior design and a more sophisticated suspension (though Leaf drives *very nice* considering the semi-independent rear axle). The battery design appears to be very similar (and is different from Tesla small cell stuff). The software in either car is very cool in its own way, but the Ford's is from Microsoft and that gives me shivers. I doubt the availability of the Focus is going to be much different from what happens with Leaf now - so I am planning on ordering both - whichever comes first.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What doesn't look better?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Definitely. It looks so much better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I too have already seen one here in San Diego. Had NO idea they were so rare! I love the concept of an all-electric vehicle, but the range is a joke right now. Nissan seems to be handling the roll out really badly as well, but honestly, I've pretty much given up on Asian car companies (Hyundai and maybe Subaru being excepted) as having any clue right now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can see why Nissan is having problems...there is no honor system here...if you have a problem ....good luck....your basically own your own. I would not recommend Nissan
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would put my money on the Ford 'Focus'. I'll buy a Japanesse product the day we bomb Tokyo unannounced or provoked!! Be American, Buy American. P.S. If they say 'We make our cars here in America, remeber the profits still go to Japan!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have a an order in for the LEAF, and like Erik pointed out, I'm likely to cancel the order after seeing what Ford has coming the end of this year.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fair enough, and you'll likely have to wait a lot longer consider the slow rollout likely with that as well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That makes no sense. So they decided that people who ordered first will get the cars first...Why would you have problems delivering to more than 19 customers?

      There must be something more to the story than that.
        • 4 Years Ago

        "As a result, those who were first in line got the first cars. Everyone else has been left out in the cold. "

        Let's look at this logically - the first in line = 1 person.

        The first 19 in line got cars though.

        Shouldn't the statement read: "As a result, we picked an arbitrary number of people that ordered 'early' and they were first to get the cars. We at Nissan feel that the other 19,981 people that ordered with a cash deposit were not as quick as the other 19 people to do so, therefore, we are making them wait even though the cars are apparently 100% ready and waiting to be delivered."
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