Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta said it is better to limit orders to what can realistically be delivered in a timely manner rather than potentially aggravate eager customers by making them wait too long.
“Every customer wants to have it, and we don’t want customers to wait,” Gupta said, adding that Nissan is simultaneously juggling high demand for the model from the U.S., Japan and Europe. The model will go on sale this fall in the United States.
“Ariya has been successfully accepted around the world,” Gupta said. “Even in the United States, we had to request our customers to stop the orders.”
The crossover is Nissan’s second EV after the Leaf, which has grown long in the tooth. The automaker also faced delays in getting the vehicle’s new production line up and running just as the pandemic and semiconductor crises hit.
Deliveries of the base model Ariya began in Japan only in May, after being delayed from March. At one point the new nameplate was scheduled to debut in mid-2021.
The EV will be manufactured in a dedicated new section of Nissan’s Tochigi assembly complex north of Tokyo, called the Intelligent Factory. That plant project required new equipment from overseas suppliers. But COVID-related travel restrictions made it difficult for supplier engineers to visit Japan for installation and operational confirmation, a Nissan spokeswoman said.
Those complications affected the Intelligent Factory’s ramp-up schedule.
One rival EV crossover also is encountering production snags.
Toyota’s new bZ4X all-electric crossover suffered eight days of suspended production this month because of parts shortages caused by the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai.
Toyota announced its slowdown May 24, saying it would trim global production of various models by tens of thousands of units, and scale back worldwide monthly output to 850,000 units from June through August.
The bZ4X, which also went on sale this month in Japan, is made at Toyota’s Motomachi plant.
Nissan declined to say how many Ariyas it has allotted to the U.S.
But one American dealer said U.S. retailers were given a two-month window to place dibs on about 6,000 vehicles that were allocated to the market. Nissan said in its latest earnings announcement that it had received 6,800 preorders in Japan and has already made 1,500 deliveries in the home market.
Some dealers applauded Nissan’s decision not to overpromise and underdeliver on the new EV.
“Sure, we could have taken more orders,” said Bill Wallace, CEO of Wallace Auto Group, which operates a Nissan store in Stuart, Fla., that has booked eight orders for the Ariya. “But taking orders that never get filled only makes for unhappy customers.
“We support not overpromising.”
Total Nissan production in Japan was down 44 percent in March from a year earlier.