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.


Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInDigg thisShare on RedditEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Related News

  • You’d think the president of a company would show a bit of excitement when customers form a long line to purchase more product than is currently in inventory?

    I can understand Nissan Canada not wanting to step on contracts it has with various dealers and work directly with the group of buyers. But, I think the president did a very bad job of communicating by slamming the car door closed on a large group of customers.

    The president of Nissan Canada could have acted as a mediator by highlighting existing avenues for the group to made a group purchase at any of the dealers in the Nissan Canafa network. After all “fleet sales” are not a new concept. Nissan dealers do fleet sales all the time with many different groups.

    Besides prefered partner program for employees on a long list of qualified companies that are offered special pricing, veterans and recent college graduates are other groups that Nissan has established group pricing. It’s not that just Nissan offers group rates, but it is common across the automotive industry.

    Eg: drivers for ride-share services like Lyft and Uber can receive a $750-$1000 discount on a purchase by presenting appropriate documentation. Grads and veterans can easily find offers of $400-$1000 on a vehicle purchase.

    Nissan dealers across Canafa should be upset with Nissan Canada as he just did the dealers a disservice. At the very least, give buyers in the group reason / channel to connect with a Nissan dealer.

    For the president of Nissan Canada to simply say NO without providing encouragement and a direction for so many potential customers bad PR. Sure the president may not be able to OK the request the group was seeking, but at the very least highlight what Nissan is doing to make EVs accessable in Canafa and offer to ensure that the volume of LEAFs the group is willing to purchase would be in inventory at Canadain dealers within a timely matter.

    Currently there is not enough LEAF inventory at dealers in Canada to fill even 10% of the numbers the group seeks to purchase. Back in 2009/2010 Nissan took deposits and reserved LEAFs in the production queue.

    Hopefully Nissan is monitoring comments (online) from members of the group, and the chatter in the EV community. It is not yet too late to unlock the door; just don’t wait until the sun sets and the group potential customers has moved on.

    Time for Nissan to show some leadership if they want to be a leader in the PEV market segment.

    • Marko Lorentz

      @Brian_Henderson:disqus I couldn’t agree more. Bad job indeed.

      Even if there was no way to adjust the actual pricing of the vehicles, I would have expected that Nissan has some goodies for the buyers (special color/varnish, interior details, floor mats with Canadian flag, thank-you card signed by Carlos Ghosn … whatever) only available to members of the group. Or something like “1000kWh free charging pass”. This would have been good PR I think. But now it’s kind of a PR disaster.

      Even if there was no intention to deliver (for whatever reason – maybe no stock available), this could have been said in a way not offending the potential customers.

      I’m absolutely sure that large organizations will receive group buying benefits if they knock on Nissan’s door…

    • Peter Duncan

      Nissan just lost a thousand sales here in Québec. Disgusted potential customers won’t buy a Leaf anymore. We will wait for a Bolt or a Model 3

  • Albemarle

    Not surprised at all, unfortunately. Canadians are just not in the same league as Americans at selling. We want full margin for everything. The social media backlash is expected. This is why Canadians buy out of country a lot on the internet. Even with duties, etc. it’s much cheaper than dealing with Canadian suppliers. Nissan is only the latest. This is why Target crashed and burned in Canada. They hired Canadians to price the goods.

    • Peter Duncan

      What a load of crap!

  • dm33

    Typical schizophrenic behavior from Nissan. Sometimes they will give the car away, now-a-days they act like they’re not interested in selling the LEAF at all. As if they’ve given up on electric cars all together. Mostly likely its big company syndrome, where one side doesn’t talk to the other side. But the inconsistent message makes consumers turn off on the car and the brand. We were all ready to buy out our lease, but when we were ready, Nissan suddenly raised our buyout price (cut the discount). After we committed to buy another car they increased the discount. We would have bought at that price but we were already committed to the new car. Likewise we looked at buying a new LEAF. Their prices were too high and we ordered the other new car. Later they discounted LEAFs below what we had been asking. But it was too late. We have no electric car despite our best efforts. I have my Model 3 reservation in place.

  • Chris O

    So did Nissan really not offer any sort of discount at all? That seems very odd, I think any carmaker would offer a substantial discount if it had a chance to sell 3700 copies of a tough sell at the end of its model life.

    Maybe that’s the thing: Leaf is at the end of its model life, demand is at an all time low so maybe production has already been stopped while Nissan sets up the new model and there just aren’t that many stock models available any more.

    Maybe Nissan did the group buyers a service. Buying an 85 miles car on the tresholt of the 200 miles era just isn’t a very good idea unless discounts are truly amazing.

  • Steve Withers

    The incentives are paid to the car seller, right? Or at least refunded to the buyer after the buyer pays the ticket price on the car. So they represent no “discount” on the selling price of the car from the vendor’s point if view.

    Something else is at play here. Normally, a deal to sell 3,700 vehicles would grabbed with both hands.

  • Martin Lacey

    Anyone thinking that maybe the Leaf v2 is just around the corner and they are running stock numbers down so that they’re not holding worthless inventory?

    They were quiet about the Leaf before it came out and whilst Tesla and GM have bandied around 200 mile range numbers, Nissan have remained quiet and tight lipped!