Was Nissan Motor Co., the self-appointed electric-car messiah with its Leaf zero-emissions vehicle, bothered by Toyota's recent tie-up with Tesla?
Quite the contrary. It feels vindicated.
"We welcome every manufacturer's move toward electric vehicles," Nissan EV head Andy Palmer said last week on the sidelines of the launch of the Juke crossover.
"It just legitimizes what we said two or three years ago when everyone said we were wrong."
Last month, Toyota announced it will team up with Tesla to build electric vehicles in California.
Still, Nissan's lead with the Leaf, no matter how modest, may be just enough for Nissan to spin this message to any and all latecomers: If you can't beat us, join us.
Palmer said about 14,000 would-be customers in the United States have plunked down the $99 deposit to get in line for the electric vehicle. He said there are another 6,000 advance orders in Japan.
Some of those orders will fall out, but that's not all bad: Nissan has capacity for 10,000 Leafs in the fiscal year that ends next March. The first Leafs are expected to hit the market in December.