I took our EV, a Nissan Leaf, for its first scheduled maintenance. It occurred to me while sitting in the waiting area that I was experiencing yet another difference between buying an EV from a manufacturer whose “bread and butter” are combustion engines versus a more fully committed renewals-centric manufacturer like Tesla.
I’ll elaborate: Upon arriving, I plugged the Leaf in at the dealership's charging station area and checked into service. After identifying me and my car in the computer, the first question was if I was just in for an oil change! I was then passed on to another service associate. This service associate was also unfamiliar with the Leafs. Upon being asked where I had parked the car, I explained it was at their charging stations. I then had to walk him over as he was unfamiliar with their location or existence! Immediately after demonstrating his lack of Leaf knowledge, he expanded upon that by indicating they only “sell 2 or 3”. He in fact stated they don’t even sell Leafs, they only lease them. I later checked with a sales associate who confirmed that of course the dealership both leases, and sells Leafs.
While it is easy to blame these service associates for such a negative experience, it is the dealership and indeed Nissan Corporation who are accountable for this. In fact, this is a good example of how sometimes corporations make the bold moves and the financial commitments, but fail to “go the last mile” by enacting the smaller, less expensive initiatives which could further solidify strategic direction with minimal investment. To further clarify: Nissan could easily design and deploy an educational program for all its employees in its franchise dealerships to include everyone, from the receptionist to the finance manager. Nissan should provide a simple “show and tell” 50 minute session introducing the car, its attributes, and advantages, to would be-owners and the environment, with facts and statistics regarding Nissan’s successful sales and lease figures, both national and worldwide.
Companies can’t afford to be their own adversaries when trying to remain on the leading edge of the changing wave of the automotive industry, one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue.