Starting next week, when Nissan re-opens the Leaf ordering system, all orders placed will be for the 2012 model, which costs more but also comes with more standard equipment than the 2011 did. The problem, for some eager Leaf wanna-drivers, is that anyone who put down a $99 deposit when Nissan first started taking Leaf reservations but who lives outside one of the roll-out markets, well, "they never had a chance" at getting a Leaf at the 2011 price, said Brendan Jones, the chief marketing manager for the Leaf. "They're going to have to pay the 2012 price."
During the Plug-in 2011 Conference, Jones told AutoblogGreen that all the orders that were in the system before the announcement have been fulfilled and there have been very few complaints about the price increase. We have more details and Nissan's sort-of explanation for the increase after the jump.
How much more will the 2012 Leafs cost? There are two Leaf trim levels, the base SV which went from $32,780 to $35,200 (plus an $820 destination charge) and the better-equipped SL which climbed from $33,720 to $37,250. So, in short, 2012 Leaf buyers will pay $2,420 more for the SV and $3,530 more for the SL. For the extra money, they will get the cold weather package and the quick-charge port as standard equipment. Of course, the cold weather bits were standard on the 2011 Leafs that went to cold areas and the DC quick charge was only a $700 option on a 2011, so 2012 buyers will be paying a lot more for the same features.
Many 2011 Leaf buyers were selecting the cold weather package once it became available, so making it and the quick charge feature standard on the 2012 model makes sense. Jones said:
Jones wouldn't say why the Leaf now costs more, but he did say that:
If you look at the vehicle ordering statistics, and we're on sale in seven states, the SL trim is a 94-95 percent of the mix and of those SLs, 90 percent are DC quick charge. All of that is driven by customer behavior because it's a build-to-order model. So, the customers selected, overwhelmingly, [these options].
It's hard to figure out exactly what the true average transaction price has been for the 4,000+ Leafs sold in the U.S. thus far, since that is done at the dealerships and there are the federal tax credits and other incentives to take into account. Still, Jones is confident that the extra thousands it will for a 2012 Leaf isn't going to slow down sales. "I am very, very confident and bullish on everything going on an upward trajectory, and the data we have supports that," he said.
It is not a result of the earthquake, it is not a result of limited production. That plays no role in these equations whatsoever. Beyond that, our position is that we increased the content and the value of the vehicle.