Since its introduction at the end of last year, Nissan has sold around 22,000 of its new Juke compact crossovers in the U.S. The endearingly wacky-looking, fun-to-drive little CUV is offered with either front- or all-wheel-drive. Now, if you bought an AWD Juke, you might soon find a pleasant surprise in your mailbox, depending on when you made your purchase.
Here's what happened. The front-wheel-drive Juke has a 13.2-gallon fuel tank. The AWD Juke's tank is smaller, at 11.8 gallons. This is by design, presumably to accomodate the additional AWD hardware. Unfortunately, according to Nissan, during the first couple months of the car's production, some marketing/promotional materials incorrectly described both Juke models as having the larger 13.2-gallon tank. The error was caught and corrected, and chances are, few consumers even noticed to begin with.
In early April, Nissan started contacting AWD Juke customers who bought their cars during the time window that the incorrect info was out there. The letter being sent out, which Nissan representative Colin Price informed us will ultimately go to approximately 4,000 Juke owners, discloses the mixup and apologizes for it. That's not all, however: Nissan puts its money where its mouth is and encloses a check for $400 as well.
As the letter states:
"While fuel tank capacity may not have been a factor in your purchase decision, Nissan sincerely regrets this error and would like to demonstrate how important your satisfaction is to us. Please find enclosed a check in the amount of $400.00 as our apology to you. Please note that the check is valid for 90 days; we hope that this action will reinforce your faith in our product and address any concern you may have had."
A Juke owner forwarded us a copy of the letter, signed by Kevin Martin of Nissan North America's Consumer Affairs group. You can see it below, and you can view a larger copy here.
Affected customers who are unsatisfied with the $400 compensation can, for a limited time, have their Jukes repurchased by Nissan or have the repurchase value applied toward the purchase of another new Nissan vehicle.
A potential outlay of $1.6 million dollars to customers (assuming all 4,000 affected buyers cash the $400 checks) is no small thing. When we asked Mr. Price what prompted the move, he said, "Customer satisfaction is so important. We just wanted to be sure we got out in front of this."
Our take? Nissan's doing right by its customers, and a letter that basically says, "We made a mistake. We're sorry. Here's $400." will likely satisfy most of them. After all, the cars themselves are in no way defective, and 400 dollars buys a lot of gas for that 11.8-gallon tank, even at today's prices. If you're going to beg forgiveness for something, being honest and up front with your customers is always the right course of action. And proactively sweetening the pot like this? It sure doesn't hurt.
On Nissan's website today, the correct fuel tank capacities are listed on the Juke's specifications page.
Thanks to Chris R. for the tip and sharing the letter.