Successfully marketing a vehicle takes an orchestra of employees all playing from the same musical score, but sometimes, someone slips up. Such seemed the case this week for Nissan when, right in the middle of the Hallelujah chorus at the New York Auto Show, there was heard the off-key intonation of a sad trombone.
While conductor (and CEO) Carlos Ghosn was undeterred in his bold sales predictions and pointing his baton at a 2012 target of 20,000 units for the Leaf, no less than the director of Nissan Leaf marketing and sales strategy for North America, Brendan Jones, is reported to have said of the ambitious sales goal, "In 2012, I doubt it...it's unlikely." Oops.
The company quickly reacted to the sour note, saying that Jones had misspoken and insisting that the all-electric hatch would indeed hit its numbers.
Though still seemingly high reaching, the three-month shift does make the goal look more plausible. Nissan maintains the Leaf is still supply-constrained and the adjusted window could allow the new Smyrna, TN plant enough time to ramp-up to meet demand. It may also help that the vehicles produced in the U.S. will offer more cold weather range and such niceties as optional leather seats.
UPDATE: Nissan's David Reuter told AutoblogGreen that, "We have not changed our commitment to sell 20,000 LEAF's in calendar year 2012. It was Brendan Jones who said fiscal year but we corrected that point as he misspoke. Domenick says in the post that we've changed the target to fiscal year '12, which we have not. We will sell 20,000 LEAF's in calendar year 2012."