How can you buy a LEAF if reservations are closed?

by Ernie Hernandez on January 13, 2011

Silver LEAF front three quarter

Cities will need to rethink bid process

We were wading through our inbox and came across an unusual item – an invitation to bid to sell the city of Seattle Nissan LEAF SV Electrical Vehicles. How exactly would someone submit a bid on a vehicle that needs to be ordered by the user, and reservations to place an order are currently closed?

Our interest piqued, we followed the link and discovered that the city of Seattle would like to purchase 26 vehicles, although they would be under no obligation to do so. Before you get too excited, you would need to be an authorized Nissan LEAF dealer, and have a factory authorized parts and service facility within 50 miles of Seattle, Washington. We feel that this will limit the potential bidders.

Clearly, there is a different process in place to address fleet sales such as these. Nissan has already made arrangements with rental car agencies and utility companies for fleet distribution. Certainly, there must be a system in place for handling something like this.

This does bring some questions to mind. How many other entities wish to purchase a LEAF? How many do they wish to purchase? If the demand from fleet users exceeds the demand from consumers, how will Nissan respond? Who will have priority in receiving newly created LEAFs? Will Nissan ultimately increase the projected build rate out of Oppama to meet this additional demand? It seems that consumer demand is already in excess of available production. Will global allocation change from their original plans? Nissan surely is faced with some challenging decisions until the Smyrna, Tennessee plant comes online the end of next year with its 150,000 annual capacity. But if production truly does not start until late 2012, don’t anticipate seeing many (if any) cars from that plant until 2013.

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