President of Nissan Canada Says ‘No’ To Discounted LEAF Group Buy

Let’s face it, electric cars are generally more expensive than gasoline counterparts. One of the ways that governments and automakers and around the world counteracted this issue has been to offer substantial discounts in the form of electric car incentive programs designed to get people to dump the pump implied in their cars for good.

As incentive programs have proven in countries like Norway, when you reduce the effective sticker price of a brand-new electric car to a point that it is comparable to is similar spec gasoline car, a large number of buyers will choose an electric car over one with an internal combustion engine. Increase those discounts and rebates even further, and you’ll find that the majority will opt for an electric car. Which is why in part we’ve seen an increase lately in the number of group purchase schemes being organized by electric car advocates and supporters, leveraging the purchasing power of a large group of individuals to get some truly amazing discounts on brand new electric cars.

Despite massive interest, Nissan Canada says no to 3,700-strong block discount.

Despite massive interest, Nissan Canada says no to 3,700-strong block discount.

Of course, these schemes seem to work for both all parties involved: automakers get the benefits of making a large bulk-sale, auto dealers get the benefits associated with making a bulk order of cars on behalf of the group, and the customers get a car that’s below the price they’d ordinarily pay for it. So when we heard about what appeared to be the largest bulk buy scheme in electric car history with a total of more than 3,700 people signed up to buy a Nissan LEAF across Quebec, Canada. we assumed that the Japanese automaker would do everything it could to facilitate the deal.

The deal would have dramatically improved LEAF sales in Canada.

The deal would have dramatically improved LEAF sales in Canada.

Yet as Roulez Electrique reports, while the group purchase scheme had 3,700 willing and ready people to sign on the dotted line for their new car, the president of Nissan Canada Joni Paiva has publicly closed the door on the group’s negotiations to try and obtain a bulk buy discount.

The reason? Paiva told government officials during a presentation on a proposed zero emission mandate in the province of Quebec that the existing $8,000 CAD Quebecois incentive offered to those buying an electric car already significantly discounted the electric hatchback’s sticker price.

Yet south of the border, a similar scheme was given the blessing of Nissan North America, in which a total of 258 Nissan LEAFs were purchased by customers in the state of Colorado at an effective $12,130 after Federal and state incentives had been applied alongside a negotiated bulk-buy discount from Nissan North America and a dealer discount.

The Canadian group purchase, organized by LEAF owner Bruno Marcoux, was actually inspired that very purchase scheme.

After being congratulated by a member of the Canadian government on the 3,700 people who had signed up for the bulk purchase, Nissan’s Paiva reiterated that Nissan had offered no official discount to the group nor would be doing so, leaving the group of 3,700 interested LEAF customers no leverage on manufacturer discounts. Instead, he suggested, individuals should take advantage of Nissan Canada’s existing lease and purchase programs already available in Quebec, stating that the current LEAF price (after discounts) already represented good value for money.

Those who had signed up in Quebec for the deal will have to find their car another way.

Those who had signed up in Quebec for the deal will have to find their car another way.

But for some who were under the impression Nissan was on board for the bulk discount the news is enough to make them want to ditch Nissan altogether, choosing instead to opt for the more expensive Tesla Model 3 instead. Posting their frustrations on social media sites, some say Nissan have lost a customer for life, while others remain hopeful that a solution can be found.

As for us? While we feel a discount to the already incentivized price would have certainly got more electric cars on the road — and helped Nissan boost its electric vehicle sales — it seems that perhaps a communication breakdown rather than malevolence is to blame for this confusion.

Either way, we’re hopeful that a solution is found quickly that keeps both parties happy.

Should automakers be expected to offer discounts for bulk-purchases of electric cars? Or are existing incentives already enough? And how should such schemes be operated in the future to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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