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A Nissan dealer on what’s so different about Leaf buyers

Getting someone to buy an all-electric Nissan Leaf is a different kind of sell in many ways. One key difference: Rather than rove the lot, mulling various options, Leaf customers know exactly what they want.

“It’s typically a very educated consumer who’s doing the Leaf,” said Broderick Alley of Downtown Nashville Nissan. “They come in hoping that it fits their needs.”

From the dealership perspective, the goal is to get a prospective Leaf customer to buy in to what they’ve already been considering. They’re often part of multiple-car homes, looking to park a gas guzzler, and they want to make sure the car is as appealing as they hope and financially viable.

The ability of dealers — and Nissan’s marketers, as we explored earlier this week — to convince buyers the Leaf is just the ticket is increasingly critical to the Middle Tennessee economy. As we explore for print subscribers today, sales of the Leaf are looking up, and part of a growing market that is nevertheless fraught with challenges.

In general, Nissan hopes the appeal of its vehicle is broadening, though there are major tendencies as far as what denotes a “typical” Leaf buyer. Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle marketing and sales strategy for Nissan, said many people have discovered that the Leaf fits their needs more cleanly than they anticipated.

The company, for example, has done educational campaigns involving touch screens that let people calculate the miles of their daily commute. The idea was to lay to rest the fear that the 75-mile range wouldn’t be enough. People couldn’t believe how easily the Leaf met their needs, he said.
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