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Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

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Nissan's silence on Leaf shipment frustrates isle residents

By Alan Yonan Jr.

POSTED:


Local Nissan dealers still haven't been told by the automaker how many Leaf electric vehicles they will be receiving in the first shipment scheduled in January or exactly when the cars will arrive.

And some residents who have put down $99 refundable deposits for the much-anticipated Leaf say they are frustrated by the lack of information being provided by Nissan on the timing of their orders.

Nissan announced earlier this year that it would roll out the Leaf in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee in December, followed by Hawaii and Texas in January.

But questions began surfacing in recent weeks in online forums about how many cars Nissan would be able to deliver in its initial shipment from Japan. The VentureBeat website quoted a Nissan dealer in Seattle as saying he was told by the automaker that the five initial states will get just one Leaf per state in December.

In Hawaii, 300 residents have put down deposits for the Leaf, the highest number per capita of any of the launch markets. Bill Mickelsen, general manager of King Windward Nissan in Kaneohe, said Nissan has not told him how many Leafs to expect in the first delivery.

"We've been getting calls from customers. We reassure them that they will get their car. They just need to be patient," Mickelsen said. "The only frustrating thing for us is that we don't know where they (the customers) are on the waiting list."

A sales manager at New City Nissan in Kalihi said he also hasn't been give a firm number of cars or a date by Nissan.

For its part, Nissan North America has been attempting to keep customers informed of the delivery status of their vehicle via e-mail.

Those with Leaf reservations receive the following notice when they log on to the Nissan site: "As your Leaf is being built and shipped, we will continue to update your vehicle's status. So make sure to sign in to 'my account' to stay current with your estimated delivery date. For whatever reason, should your delivery date change by more than two weeks, we will send you an e-mail to notify you of the change."

Manoa resident Duane Preble, who put down his $99 deposit in May, said when he clicks on the button labeled "Estimated Delivery," he is told his order is "pending." When he called Nissan to ask when he would be getting his Leaf, he was not given a firm date.

Preble said the situation is frustrating because the electrical contractor, who is installing a charging station at his home, won't do the job until he commits to buying the car. But Preble said he first wants to know when he'll be getting the car.

Mickelsen from King Windward Nissan said because Hawaii residents who reserved Leafs were never given a firm delivery date, many of the 300 incorrectly assumed that they would get their vehicle in January.

"We were told that the first cars would arrive in January, but the 300 figure is for the whole year," he said. "Everyone will eventually get their car. In the worst-case scenario the delivery will be delayed."






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