Thursday, July 28, 2011

2012 LEAF: Sloppy Seconds?

As my regular readers know, I'm usually trying to put a positive spin on a number of things, but every so often, I feel the need to get nasty and I think with the constant delay with respect to ordering of the 2012 Nissan LEAF, I can't help but ponder a bit the changes between this model year car and the previous one.

I've already reported that the price difference between the 2011 and 2012 model years is $1,490 for the base SV trim and $1,900 for the base SL trim and I stand by that.  Any site which exaggerates this price difference is likely to get a comment from me seeking to rectify the situation since I'm all about the truth.

After all, you're getting a complimentary Cold Weather Package with that cost increase, and the TEPCO plug on the SL trim, so a lot of the cost is just those options or alternate Trim levels carried over from the previous model year as standard.  Then again, how useful is the Cold Weather Trim in Florida?

But what else is new in the 2012 LEAF?  Did they add the 6.6kW charger?  No, not even as an option!  Have they made improvements to the batteries or the charge capacity?  No.  Have they improved the Software?  Yes, but 2011 drivers are getting that update for free.  Have they improved the motor or the aerodynamic?  Have they added a new audio or driving comfort option?  No, apart from what's already included in the Cold Weather Package.  The Cold Weather Package isn't even exclusive to the 2012 LEAF: it was an available trim level for the 2011 LEAF late in the model year.

So what do you get for your $1,490 - $1,900 in new model year premiums?  Nothing!  You don't get anything for this cost increase.  If you're in the original Tier 2 states of AL, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC and VA:

  • not only was your ordering window delayed by 7 months and now 4 more days

  • not only were you kept in the dark about Nissan's plans for Tier 2

  • not only were you forced to listen to Nissan rant and rave about how great a car the LEAF is even though you couldn't (easily) buy it

  • not only were you still denied the long sought after 6.6kW charging option that the Ford Focus Electric is beating the LEAF's ass on

  • not only were you denied the color Green, a natural for a car called LEAF

  • not only were you given the same set of Port Options / Accessories as 2011

Not only all of that, but you're also going to have to pay about 5% more for it.

Thanks a lot, Nissan!

Originally, I was all in favor of those of us in Tier 2 getting first pick of the brand-spanking-new 2012 model year under the assumption that it would be an improvement, even if just a slight improvement, over the 2011 as a reward for braking their commitment and forcing us to wait an extra half-year to order the car we've been pining for since at least 20 April 2010.  Now I say, bring me the Smyrna 2013!