By on June 13, 2011

Bloomberg’s running a lede that’s sure to ruffle a few feathers at Nissan’s communication and customer service organizations this morning: “Nissan Motor Co. is aggravating the customers it needs most.” How so? According to the report

Nissan, which wants to become the top seller of electric cars, repeatedly delayed deliveries to some U.S. buyers who reserved the first 20,000 Leaf plug-in hatchbacks, according to interviews with customers. They said Nissan unexpectedly dropped some from the waiting list temporarily, asking that they reapply if they couldn’t prove they’d arranged installation of home- charging units that can cost more than $2,000.

Nissan has long admitted that the Leaf rollout would be a challenge, and the recent tsunami-related chaos in Japan hasn’t helped. But Bloomberg doesn’t quantify how many customers have been dropped due to their lack of charging system installation, other than to report that 45% of the 20k customers who reserved Leafs by last September have continued the ordering process. And it turns out that the delays aren’t irritating so much because of Nissan’s intransigence or lack of transparency, but because certain buyers stand to lose their California tax credit before their Leaf arrives.

(Read More…)

By on November 21, 2010

The U.S. auto industry went to the brink. It was rescued by massive amounts of taxpayer money. Brands, factories and dealers shuttered. The business went through traumatic changes. But one thing has not changed: The antiquated way of selling cars. No, I’m not talking about selling cars via the Internet or Costco. I’m talking about build-to-order. A.k.a. “mass customization.” It’s not a pipe dream. It’s done every day. Just not in America. (Read More…)

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