Meow, Nissan: Automaker Slaps Tesla in New Leaf Ad

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
meow nissan automaker slaps tesla in new leaf ad

Nissan is trying to play Tesla’s lengthy Model 3 waiting list to its advantage.

A print ad that landed in the country’s most-read newspapers this morning is playing up the Model 3’s wait times, according to Automotive News, and encouraging EV buyers to go the faster route by buying a Leaf.

There’s nothing subtle about the ad, which would have been green-lit by Nissan’s intimidating sales and marketing head Christian Meunier. Since taking on the role in January, Meunier has laid out an aggressive marketing strategy, meaning the Leaf spot could be the first of many cheeky ads.

“No one should have any reservations about getting an electric car today,” states the ad, which goes on to ask, “Why wait when you can drive an all-electric Leaf today?”

For 2016, the Leaf’s range grows to 107 miles (on all but the base model), exactly half the projected range of a Model 3. Still, the first Model 3 won’t roll off Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly line until late 2017, and with 400,000 reservations, some buyers might be waiting a long time.

Nissan needs to sell Leafs any way it can, given the model’s falling sales status. Leaf sales have rolled downhill since reaching a high point in 2014, meaning a growing need for manufacturer incentives. Nissan tells EV buyers via the ad that the automaker will give them $4,000 cash back for the purchase, which is better than having to “drop $1,000 to stand in line.”

There’s also a ridiculous amount of incentives available if you live in the right state, like Colorado, for instance.

Will Nissan’s EV ad gambit pay off? Many Tesla buyers want a Tesla and nothing else, but Nissan really has nothing to lose by trying.

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7 of 45 comments
  • LJD LJD on Apr 22, 2016

    If Tesla can make a decent electric sedan you would think Nissan engineers could make one too. They should drop the Leaf and make a compact sedan with some racy styling and at least a 200 mile range. Tesla can't be the only one that can make decent batteries. 100 mile range cars just don't sell.

    • Mcs Mcs on Apr 22, 2016

      Nissan senior vice-president Shiro Nakamura announced at Geneva that they'd expand beyond the Leaf within 5 years. My guess is that they are going to revive the Infinity EV sedan concept now that the Model 3 has received so many orders. Nissan is also going to a 200 mile plus battery with the next Leaf. Those Model 3 orders are a tempting target, but they may never get them. Nissan has a big handicap in that it's charging network is poorly implemented. They depend on the dealers to provide locations, but the dealers restrict availability, or in at least one case that I've seen, use the charging spaces to exhibit used nono-electric cars. If Nissan had a decent charging network the 100 mile cars would be great. Even with a 100 mile car, I've been from Boston to all of the New England states except Connecticut.

  • PandaBear PandaBear on Apr 22, 2016

    To be fair, it is probably cheaper to buy 2 used leaves and put them at work / home and charge them at night at both locations, regardless of how many bars of batteries lives left.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mcs Mcs on Apr 22, 2016

      One of my work locations is 100 miles round trip. I've been having no trouble traveling that distance by charging at the work location. If the battery were to drastically drop in capacity to let's say 60 miles, there are three CHAdeMO chargers nearby with two within 40 miles of home.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Apr 22, 2016

    I'm considering a leaf vs. used C-max showdown (spreadsheet and test drives) to be my most reasonable "if replacement becomes necessary" options. If I can't stand either, then spreadsheets be damned, time to look at more $ options. The Tesla still seems more a style/status statement than an actual transportation or envvironmental choice. I use purchase price as a proxy for environmental damage caused in production via material sourcing and processing. It's not perfect, but what's better?

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 23, 2016

    Why wait for BMW when you can by Nissan Sentra right now and for $30,000 less.