Nissan Readies Task Force to Supervise Leaf Launch

Nissan wants to be ready to contain any minor issue regarding its Leaf electric vehicle after its release next month, so it is setting up a rapid reaction task force in the United States to troubleshoot possible customer complaints.

The Japanese automaker wants to ensure everything goes as smooth as possible, so it has deployed a team of highly specialized engineers that will initially be based in Los Angeles. The goal is to have technicians in place to visit customers and fix problems on the spot.

Similar task forces are introduced in Europe and Japan, where the Leaf will also go on sale. The carmaker's reputation depends on the success of the vehicle, so Nissan is making great efforts to ensure that the car's launch is as seamless as possible.

This is our first electric vehicle. The market must be properly prepared,” said Hitoshi Horie, manager of quality and customer satisfaction.

Leaf components such as electric motors, inverters and lithium ion batteries represent new territory for engineers and service technicians, as well as for the customer.

The Nissan task force move seems to follow Toyota's example of introducing Smart teams this year in the United States to respond to customer complaints after its recent series of recalls. Horie said that Nissan is not repeating Toyota's case; the decision comes solely from dedication to customer satisfaction.

The task force will comprise of 10 lead engineers and around 30 technicians, Horie said.

To combat anxiety associated with the Leaf's release, Nissan introduced other special support services in Japan, such as a 24-hour emergency hotline, free towing, unlimited charging at dealerships and rental car discounts. The company is considering similar services for the US market.
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