Two weeks ago in Orlando, a pretty sizeable audience of Nissan dealers went into a convention auditorium with the factory's top U.S. brass for the annual franchise make meeting.
Despite the fact that Nissan is about to embark on what might the gutsiest and most unusual product plan in the industry -- the launching of a line of mass-market electric vehicles -- not one dealer in the room asked a question about it.
Not one question, according to people in the closed session.
The all-electric five-passenger Leaf will hit showrooms in just 10 months. Nissan is about to spend almost $2 billion on a new U.S. manufacturing venture for it. Dealers will have to install vehicle charging systems for it. Service technicians will have to be trained on how to work on the cars. Sales staffs and managers will have to learn how to sell them. Local newspapers have had stories about the Leaf all winter as Nissan moved the car from city to city for publicity. And according to production plans, its expected volume will make it one of the brand's top sellers.
And not one dealer had a question?
How about these: What will I do if a customer phones and says his Leaf won't start? Will I need to buy quick-charge service trucks? Where do I get those? How long will it take them to charge a dead battery?
Nissan says all questions will be answered in dealer meetings this summer. But seriously -- nobody was curious enough to go ahead and ask something? Anything? Now?