Nissan Expected to Pay $1.6 Million for Marketing Error

Nissan Motor Company is sending apology letters and checks to about 4,000 U.S. consumers who recently purchased its all-wheel-drive Juke crossover.  The letters and checks (in the amount of $400) are the automaker’s way of apologizing for a printing error in its marketing materials which claimed the all-wheel-drive model’s fuel tank had a capacity of 13.2 gallons – the same as the front-wheel-drive version.  In fact, the AWD version has a fuel capacity of 11.8 gallons.

In its letter to affected new AWD Juke owners, Nissan has said that it will buy back vehicles from owners who are not satisfied by the apology and check. Those who choose to return their Jukes will receive their original purchase price minus depreciation or may apply the repurchase vale to the purchase of another new Nissan vehicle.

In the letter, sent to customers early last month, Nissan’s head of customer satisfaction Kevin Martin said, “Your vehicle was built correctly and as designed.” He went on to say, “Nissan sincerely regrets this error and would like to demonstrate how important your satisfaction is to us.”

Nissan hopes its goodwill offer will help build up its image and improve customer satisfaction.

In the letter, Martin tells customers, “While fuel tank capacity may not have been a factor in your purchase decision, Nissan sincerely regrets this error. We hope this action will reinforce your faith in our product,”

Nissan says it will still honor its buyback offer even if an owner has already cashed the $400 check they received.  In such cases, the automaker will add that amount to the depreciation deduction, but will still allow the customer to return their vehicle.

The printing error is yet another blow to Nissan which, along with its fellow Japanese automakers, is still reeling from the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Nissan has sold 13,499 Juke crossovers in the U.S. this year.  Of those, about 4,000 had misprinted fuel tank specs according to company spokesman Colin Price. All affected owners can expect to receive apology letters and checks from the automaker.

The printing mistake is expected to cost Nissan about $1.6 million in initial payments.

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