leaf-not-for-you2editors-blog-entry3Reserve a Nissan LEAF in the spring of 2010 but don’t live in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas or Washington?

It’s sure looking like you won’t see your LEAF in 2011.

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In addition – and this is where it gets aggravating — folks living in those exclusive seven states who reserve a LEAF starting May 1, 2011 – yes, Nissan is re-opening the reservations process – will likely see their LEAF before you do.

This even though you – and I, and the thousands of others who don’t live in what we’ll call “The Exclusive 7” states – reserved a LEAF more than a year ahead of the newcomers.

No, I don’t have official confirmation of this. But it’s what I’m reading over at PlugInCars.Com, where Editor Brad Berman recently posted the following entry: “For Most of U.S., Electric Cars Still a Waiting Game.”

It’s also what I’m hearing on MyNissanLeaf.Com, a highly trafficked online forum, where some folks are jokingly telling me that we won’t be able to buy a LEAF in Colorado, or any other of what we’ll call the Forgotten 43 states, until LEAFs start rolling off the assembly line in late 2012 at the Tennessee plant Nissan is currently building.

LEAF reservations controversey heats up on Facebook:
leaf-tinyWe’re not the only ones wondering why people in Ariz., Calif., Hawaii, Ore., Tenn., Texas, and Wash. who reserve a LEAF in spring 2011 may be getting their LEAF before those who reserved in spring of 2010 in the other 43 U.S. states. A bunch of people are letting Nissan know their feelings on the Nissan LEAF Facebook Page. Check it out — and let Nissan know how you feel!

The Exclusive 7
If it is in fact true that no one outside of the Exclusive 7 states will be able to buy a LEAF in 2011, you’d think that Nissan would choose the up-front course of action – always the best approach when dealing with consumers – and come clean about this.

Instead, what we’re getting is a language game.

Here’s how it goes–>

Pay close attention to the difference between the word “reservation” – which is what I, and thousands of others in the Forgotten 43, made in the spring of 2010 – and the word “order”, which none of us has.

With this crucial distinction in mind, start unpacking what folks at Nissan are “actually” saying.

If Nissan is going to leapfrog brand new “reservations” from the Exclusive 7 states in front of those made more than a year ago from the Forgotten 43 and magically make the required word change, transforming them into “orders” and fill 17,000 or 20,000 of those “orders” exclusively from the Exclusive 7, it ought to be tell us right now.

For instance, check out this recent quote from Nissan’s Carlos Tavares:

“Nissan Leaf deliveries are about to grow from the few hundreds to the many thousands. All current customer orders will be fulfilled by the end of this summer.”

Now, of course, Tavares, and other folks at Nissan don’t bold-face the word “orders”. Nor, as far as I can tell, has Nissan made any real effort to clarify the distinction between “reservation” and “order”.

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And then there’s the tension between “current customer” and “orders.”

I’m pretty sure Nissan doesn’t have thousands of “orders” right now, although, of course, it does have thousands of “reservations.”

An important distinction this whole “reservations” vs. “orders” thing is indeed – to use a Yoda sentence construction.

Early reservers to be leap-frogged?
Apparently, the difference between “reservation” and “order” should be just plain obvious to all of us, at least according to some of the LEAF aficionados on MyNissanLeaf.Com.

It looks better to have 20,000 reservations — including 10,000 or so from folks in states that won’t see a LEAF until, let’s say, two years after the initial reservations hype – than to have just 10,000 from those in the states that are actually going to see some LEAFs within the first year. Of course, it doesn’t look so good later on as those among the 10,000 or so people whose April 2010 reservations appear essentially meaningless and who are placed behind folks registering in May 2011 in the line to get a LEAF actually start to realize what’s going on.

Done. End of story.

Not in my book.

If Nissan is going to leapfrog brand new “reservations” from the Exclusive 7 states in front of those made more than a year ago from the Forgotten 43 and magically make the required word change, transforming them into “orders” and fill 17,000 or 20,000 of those “orders”, exclusively from the Exclusive 7, it ought to be tell us right now.

In fact, Nissan should have told us this from the beginning.

The Forgotten 43
It should have let those of us in the Forgotten 43 know we weren’t getting into a national line for a Nissan LEAF, but that we were instead stepping into what amounts to a state-by-state line in which reservations from the Exclusive 7 are served first and reservations from the Forgotten 43 are served, well, “whenever.”

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If PlugInCars.Com and several of the folks at MyNissanLeaf.Com are correct, the whole LEAF reservations process seems like a total sham, one set up with early public relations considerations placed front and center.

It looks better to have 20,000 reservations — including 10,000 or so from folks in states that won’t see a LEAF until, let’s say, two years after the initial reservations hype – than to have just 10,000 from those in the states that are actually going to see some LEAFs within the first year.

Of course, it doesn’t look so good later on as those among the 10,000 or so people whose April 2010 reservations appear essentially meaningless and who are placed behind folks registering in May 2011 in the line to get a LEAF actually start to realize what’s going on.

I can’t say for sure this is what’s going to happen, but it would appear to be a distinct possibility.

I did post the following questions to the Nissan LEAF Facebook page:

  1. Can anyone at Nissan answer the following: Will anyone who reserved a LEAF last spring and who lives outside the initial roll-out states be able to order and buy a LEAF in 2011?
  2. Did I — I’m in Colorado — get in line with all Americans when I reserved in April 2010, or will Californians, etc. who start reserving in May 2011 jump ahead of me — and thousands of others — in the reservation line?
  3. Basically, is the LEAF reservation “line” a national line or a state-by-state line?

Doubt I’ll actually get any answers, though if I do, I will definitely let you know.

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