If you’ve been following the saga of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicles development and release, you know you can’t just walk into your local Nissan dealer and pony up the cash. First, you needed to book a reservation by April 20th to make the “priority list”. If you missed that date, you’ll need to wait until May 15th to book your reservation. A reasonable deposit of $99 is required at reservation.
Once you’re on the list, Nissan will e-mail you a link to the Leaf order page. At this point , Nissan wants you to answer a few questions about yourself and your driving habits before allowing you to complete your Leaf order. Don’t worry, the questions aren’t about political orientation or recreational drug use: instead, they’re meant to determine if you’ll actually be happy driving an electric-only vehicle. Per Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s chairman of the Americas:
“We may tell the customer, ‘Look, you’d be better off buying an Altima or a Sentra because your driving patterns are not ideal for this car. … We want to be transparent. It is fundamental for us to tell the customer what the car can deliver.”
In that light, the “are you worthy” questions make sense. Nissan has a lot riding on the success of the Leaf, so they can’t afford bad press and dissatisfied customers. I’m sure some potential buyers will wind up with ruffled feathers, but from Nissan’s perspective, it’s better to be unhappy with the order process than it is to be unhappy with the product.