WE’RE about a third of the way through the Big Turn On – Nissan’s drive to get more people ‘turned on’ to electric motoring – and one dealer has told how the campaign is having wide-ranging benefits for his business.
Darren Cuthbertson, Regional Director of Macklin Motors, the Scottish arm of the Vertu Motor Group, has been working hard to raise awareness of Nissan’s all-electric LEAF since the start of the campaign.
And his efforts have certainly been paying dividends. Since the beginning of the Big Turn On, around 20 potential customers have taken test drives in the LEAF, and four of the cars have actually been sold!
Macklin Motors have been working hard to make potential customers aware of the LEAF by organising coverage in local newspapers and features on local radio stations.
One of the most effective events they organised took place at the Sainsbury’s store next to their Glasgow showroom. The company had their LEAF on display and handed out material about the all-electric car to shoppers.
Cuthbertson explained: ‘The event was all about awareness, we weren’t doing any data capture. And part of the way we pitched it was by explaining to people that by getting involved with the LEAF, they would be doing something for Glasgow.
‘This is based on Nissan’s pledge that the city with the most votes during the Big Turn On will benefit from infrastructure investment by Nissan with charging points and so on.’
Cuthbertson explained that getting the LEAF’s benefits over to a sceptical public was tricky at the start of the campaign but that it’s getting easier as time goes on.
He admitted: ‘There were a lot of concerns at the start. People were saying: ”Is it really a practical car for me?”
‘But over the last six to eight weeks people are really starting to understand that, really, they hardly ever do more than 80-90 miles a day and that it would work very well for them.’
Cuthbertson, who joined Nissan last year after 18 years with Mercedes Benz, is a firm LEAF fan himself. He told us: ‘The first time I jumped in the car I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the drive. It just makes you feel so calm.
‘When you arrive at your destination you feel like you’ve been to a therapy session!’
Keeping the momentum going
We asked him what he would say to dealers who perhaps have not fully ‘turned on’ to the LEAF themselves yet.
He replied: ‘One of my concerns was that selling the LEAF would involve a lot of work for a low margin. That’s simply not the case. And if anyone is sceptical, the best thing they can do is use a LEAF for a week. That will convince them.
‘Our challenge now is to keep the momentum going for the rest of the Big Turn On – and we’re definitely going to do that.’