On Monday, Japanese automaker Nissan acknowledged that it would investigate complaints that some Leafs randomly don't start, a problem caused by the vehicle's air conditioning system. The issue was reported in both the U.S. and Japan.
Today, Nissan launched its solution campaign, which we reported on a little while ago. Nissan's executive vice president Andy Palmer, has added to the information with a short a video statement that says, in part (you can watch the entire thing here):
Palmer adds that "on some occasions, when you key off, the car won't start." He then adds what we might call the understatement of the month: "That's an inconvenience to the customer, for sure." He goes on to repeat that this situation is not a safety issue, and that nonetheless, Nissan will move swiftly to fix a potential software glitch on all of the nearly 8,000 Leafs produced (on top of the 5,300 vehicles on the road today, as we heard earlier). Palmer says that it's unclear if the issue affects vehicles produced during a specific time frame.We have found a problem. The problem...is only on a small proportion of the vehicles. However we have decided to perform a service campaign for all the [Leaf] vehicles produced and sold.
Nissan will launch the Leaf service campaign next week because, as Palmer states, "Time is of the essence." Hit the jump for a transcript of Palmer's video interview.
[Source: YouTube, Plugin Cars, Nissan]
Q1. What's the latest on the Nissan Leaf and how will the issue be addressed?
A1.We are announcing a service campaign for the Nissan Leaf. We've produced almost 8,000 Leafs since the start of production in December, and what we've found is a problem.
The incidence of the problem, which I will explain in a moment, is only on a very small proportion of the vehicles. However, we've decided to perform a service campaign for all of the vehicles that we've produced and sold.
I want to emphasize that the issue is nothing to do with safety-related (issues). Nothing at all. The issue we have is the car will drive happily, but on some occasions when you key off, the car won't restart.
Now that's an inconvenience to the customer for sure, and we're not in the business of inconveniencing our customers.
So, even though the incidence and occurrence is very small, we've decided to reprogram the software and basically put that fix into the hands of all of our customers.
Q2. How long will the campaign take to roll out and what should current Nissan Leaf owners do?
A2.Well, time is of the essence and we absolutely don't want to inconvenience our customers, so we need to go as quickly as possible.
We've understood the root cause of the problem. The engineers are just finishing off the software reprogramming, and our intention is to start the service campaign next week.
Next week means we are going to contact all the customers that we've sold Nissan Leaf to, or they can contact us, and we'll program into their diaries a convenient moment, and we'll reprogram their software.
Q3. Since the tragic events of March 11, production in Japan and rollout has been affected. Can you tell us the company's current expectations for further global rollout of the Nissan Leaf this year?
A3. To date, we've made almost 8,000 vehicles, which makes us - if not the biggest - one of the biggest producers of Electric Vehicles in the world. So, it was going well, and the start of production of a brand new car -- brand new technical concept, has gone remarkably smoothly, thanks to the experience that Nissan has had in the past.
The earthquake has inconvenienced us -- it's stopped the track and, as everybody knows, all of the vehicle manufacturers, not only in Japan but all around the world, have problems of supply.
The good news is that Oppama has restarted - that's the manufacturing site for Nissan Leaf. We're producing batteries in AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corp.), so our in-house plant is now producing cars.
We still have some issues in terms of supply of parts from suppliers and we're managing those on a day-by-day basis. But we fully expect to be back to full capacity in the very-near future, and those lost sales we're going to endeavor to catch up in the second half of the year. There's an awful lot of customers waiting, and it's our intention to satisfy that demand - huge pent up demand - as quickly as we can.
Nissan regrets any inconvenience caused by this issue and thanks its customers for their understanding as it is quickly resolved.