Nissan Reports 42,700 Sales of LEAF, Renews Commitment to EVs
At Nissan's conference to report Q2 2012 financial results, held earlier this week, the company's chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga discussed the automaker's progress with making and selling electric vehicles. He spoke in lofty terms about Nissan's vision to help solve global warming, and reported that global LEAF sales now stand at 42,700 units, including 19,000 sales in Japan.
Shiga struck a somewhat apologetic tone, asking the audience to look at Nissan's sense of mission, and long-term commitment, rather than the hard sales numbers.
Thanks to a video of the conference posted to the Internet, it's possible to get a direct statement about Nissan's EV efforts from one of the company's top executives. He expressed frustration about the slow pace of sales, but renewed Nissan's commitment to find out why sales have been lower than expected, and take action. According to his remarks, he sees the installation of Quick Chargers as a key to increasing market demand. It's not clear if he believes this applies equally to all markets where Nissan electric cars are available.
Shiga's position on Nissan's EVs starts at the 41:40 mark of the video. It was the final issue that he addressed during the 45-minute conference. Here is a transcript of his entire statement about EVs, slightly edited for clarity:
Sales volume of EVs is slow. That’s what I’m reading in the media. Frankly, it’s disappointing, and I am frustrated.
Nissan, by becoming a leader in the zero emissions area, will help contribute to solving global warming and [energy] resource issues. Somewhere in the history of human beings, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And Nissan is assuming a risk—we are not the first ones, but we are deploying EVs for the first time as a mass volume automaker…however, we have a strong resolution and a big mission in mind. That is why we decided to penetrate the market with zero emissions vehicle. That’s the ambition we have.
It will be two years next month since we launched this EV. Through the sales of EV, we are learning a lot of things. For example, why customers hesitate to buy an EV, and what are the issues they face after they buy one, and how satisfied customers are once they get into an electric vehicle.
Once we discover these lessons, we can take counter-measures that are effective. Today, we are preparing a line-up of counter-measures to implement.
For example, as you may know, the Nissan LEAF is connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. Our global data center gathers data about EV driving experiences. We know how customers are driving EVs and where they need Quick Chargers.
If we use this data, and provide it to the people who are installing Quick Chargers…Then, we can say if you install the Quick Chargers [in certain locations], you can increase the showroom traffic for example.
Regarding sales of Nissan LEAF, since we launched the vehicle, 42,700 units were sold—19,000 were sold in Japan. People may have different opinions to say this is too slow or too fast. We would like to penetrate the market more. But, I am responsible for the task team that is accelerating the sales of EV. So the entire company is united to promote the sales, and I am leading this. So, in that sense, please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission to work on EV. I hope you understand this, and look at our activities from this perspective.
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