Slow EV Sales Disappoint And Frustrate Nissan COO

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Nissan’s chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by the lackluster sales of electric vehicles in general and the Leaf in particular. Speaking at the mid-term results press conference at the Nissan HQ in Yokohama, his emotional appeal to recognize Nissan’s pioneering efforts in the field of zero emissions had undertones of an eulogy on the electric vehicle:

“Somewhere in the history of mankind, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and Nissan is assuming the risk to do it now. We were the first volume maker deploy EVs globally. Please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission.”

Not giving up on EVs, Shiga personally heads a task force to accelerate the sales of EVs. So far, Shiga did not have more to report than mining the data harvested from the connected Leafs, and giving the data to companies that will install quick chargers.

Next month, it will be two years that Nissan launched the Leaf pure EV. According to Shiga, it saw global sales of 42,700 units since introduction, 19,000 of them in Japan.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Cavalmi Cavalmi on Nov 06, 2012

    I might be more interested if they change the battery warranty to cover capacity loss over time. As it is, virtually all of this type of risk is on the consumer. I have an incomplete table posted here:

    • See 1 previous
    • Cavalmi Cavalmi on Nov 07, 2012

      @SCE to AUX Either you did not read or missed the point of my web page. The point of my web page is that there is no specific guarantee regarding capacity loss for most of these vehicles. Estimates and loose wording subject to interpretation and change may be enough to satisfy you, but the point that I was making with my post here is that it does not satisfy me. You may or may not recall that initially Nissan was "estimating" 80% at 10 years. Now it is "approximately 80%" at 5 years. Since the performance is not guaranteed, Nissan may change it again to 70% at 3 years or anything that they want. Only one of of the vehicles for which I have found information has a guarantee in writing.

  • BenE BenE on Nov 08, 2012

    I know this is subjective, but I find the Leaf one of the ugliest car I have ever seen. The curves on the side have no symmetry, uniformity or orderliness. It is shaped like a malformed bumpy potato. Otherwise this type of car excites me. I also think the price needs to be a bit lower however I would have no problem paying what they pay in California for it if it was less ugly.

    • Sdmacuser Sdmacuser on Jan 15, 2014

      Well you're right. It is a very ugly vehicle (in more ways than one) but it was initially billed to do great things for CA if not the nation as a whole. And it fell far short of its goal. Infrastructure is but one of the many issues as of 1/2014. But it certainly is not the main issue. Range anxiety (and diminishing commuter distances over time) is a major issue for this vehicle and if they fail to significantly bump up the range as promised soon then this leaf will simply wilt from the very start. Reminds me somewhat of GM's first attempt at EV1's 1996-99 which also failed miserably for many of the same reasons. One can argue that we have to keep trying. However as a current 2013 leaf owner seven months into my lease and over 20% loss of range I think its time to nail this coffin completely shut on the leaf. I can see the writing on the wall as well as the many attorneys lining up class action litigation already.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...