• Apr 15th 2011 at 7:53PM
  • 16
Nissan Leaf service campaign – Click above to watch video after the jump

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):
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.
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.

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]
Show full PR text
Nissan EVP Andy Palmer spoke with the Nissan Media Center to update on developments with the Nissan Leaf.

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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      You have good points. I just sometimes wish people could put aside their agendas and speak frankly about real problems instead of trying to save face and make situations seem as harmless and pleasant as possible.
        • 8 Months Ago
        If masses had brains... sure, they could be reasoned with.. logically.

        But Nissan's target audience IS NOT the well informed, savvy buyer. But the average schmoe that is easily scared away from new technology unless you coddle them a bit.
      • 8 Months Ago
      "The incidence of the problem...is only on a very small proportion of the vehicles." He doesn't quote any numerical percentages. "Small" is relative; without the numbers, this statement is weak.

      "Service campaign...service campaign...service campaign." Seems like he is making it a point to actively avoid the word "recall." I know this problem doesn't qualify as one but he is so blatantly obvious. "Service campaign" is just a euphemism for "oops, sometimes our car doesn't start."

      "The issue is nothing to do with safety related [sic], nothing at all...it is an inconvenience." So, it's "inconvenient" for me to be stranded in a parking lot at night miles away from home. That doesn't make it any better for me. Also, what's with the grammar?

      "We absolutely don't want to inconvenience the customer...the earthquake was an inconvenience...convenience...convenience...convenience..."
      The man needs a thesaurus.

      It is respectable that they are fixing the problem quickly. But this statement is just so contrived, defensive, and insincere.
        • 8 Months Ago
        You would be very defensive, cautious, and careful with your words too... if you had an entire auto industry (automakers, part suppliers, Detroit media, oil companies) watching and waiting for you to make any little mistake to sound the trumpets that "EVs are Fail".

        If he even mentions the word, "Recall"... what would be the headline on tomorrows autoblog articles? "NISSAN ISSUES GLOBAL RECALL ON ALL LEAF ELECTRIC VEHICLES!"... which sounds like a safety recall, because consumers do not understand words... they understand tone.

      • 8 Months Ago
      The navi software was written by Microsoft, right? Maybe they made the A/C software too... that would explain everything.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Well, yes... everything except propulsion and safety systems. I'd happily open-source the telematics and environmental system, but this might not (and probably should not) give you access to core vehicles functions. Next thing you know, you've uploaded Linux, and you're running the entire vehicle from a barely beta app someone created in their mom's basement. This is not a good thing.

        Open-source, sure... but their are some domains better left to the vehicle's engineers - even given the obvious teething problems.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeap, it would be nice if they could explain a bit more how really it happens, and what correction was made to override this issue.
        One more reason to open source the whole software stack!!!...
      • 8 Months Ago
      I do not mean this as a backhanded compliment at all when I say that I am glad Nissan has decided to own up to this.

      Indicating to your customers that you take full responsibility for a problem goes a long way in restoring (or keeping) their trust in you.

      Would it be better if this problem never happened? Yes.

      But being open about it and fixing it rapidly is a strong second best.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Argh. Okay, I have to backtrack a bit.

        The talking head here acts like he's doing Nissan customers a favor because they bought a Leaf and not any other Nissan. This is nonsense. If any car you make has a non-starting issue, even of low incidence, you had better fix it. And Nissan would indeed fix it, they're not stupid. So acting like you're doing people a solid because they bought your halo car is disingenuous.

        Just say "Hey, we made a mistake. It's not a safety issue. And like we would do for any of our other cars, we're going to fix it, because IT IS OUR FAULT and not the fault of the customer."

        I still think it's great they plan to roll this out quickly.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I suppose it's a good thing, that it wasn't a LEAF in that garage fire. You would have been all over Nissan for that!
      • 8 Months Ago
      "The talking head here acts like he's doing Nissan customers a favor because they bought a Leaf and not any other Nissan. "

      He actually is.

      A lot of Nissan's cars post-1999 ( Carlos Ghosn took command then ) are full of components that Nissan has not stood by even though there have been constant failures of those parts. The 2.5L engine from 2000 & on is bad news, so are many of their transmissions, and a ton of their emissions sensors are crap too. They continue to put the same destined to fail components in cars for the entire model year and the next model update also..

      Their reliability has gone down the drain since Ghosn and if they are making good on their cars, then yes they are going out of their way!!

      This is the only Nissan car i would ever recommend to anyone. All their newer '00+ cars are junk, truly..
        • 8 Months Ago
        "...whatever CR is saying because they received payola for it."

        Nice libel.
        • 8 Months Ago

        For your own research, look up the following terms on google:

        qr25de problems
        titan transmission problems

        go on carsurvey.org and look up any Nissan that is over 5 years old ( IE out of warranty period ) and see how they are doing.

        The best one is comparing the pre-1999 Maximas to the 2000+ Maximas.

        That car immediately went to crap after Ghosn took hold, within 1 year, after decades of being known as an extremely reliable car.

        I made the mistake of telling someone to buy a 2000 Maxima and it was a nightmare for them. I started researching this online and found that Nissan had cut the quality of their parts drastically after Renault took over because they were about to go bankrupt basically.

        They have not changes since, from what i have seen in the real world. Although the Infinitis are quite good & typically use the better parts.

        But i would never tell anyone to buy a new Nissan, other than a Leaf.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Consumer Reports calls the 2011 Nissan Altima its "Top Pick Family Sedan". It also won in 2010. In 2009 the Altima was called "Best Mid-Size Sedan" by CR, beating the Honda Accord.

        They also picked the 2011 Infinity G37 as their "Top Pick Sports Sedan", and it should be noted that Infinity is a Nissan product. It also won in 2010.

        Hmmm. I'm gonna say that maybe Nissan is a little better at building cars than you'd like to admit, making two of the most reliable and value-packed cars on the market.

        • 8 Months Ago
        Okay, maybe you're right. But I'm not going to give them kudos for merely rising to a normally expected level because they're worried it might affect perceptions of their halo car.
        • 8 Months Ago
        You listen to consumer reports.

        I sold used cars, and worked in a shop, and have been a Nissan enthusiast for a long time, in fact i own a 1996 200SX with 250k on the clock and it's running great.

        I'll take real world experience over whatever CR is saying because they received payola for it.
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