Nissan is holding a multicity tour, dubbed the Drive and Discover Experience, that allows potential customers to schedule a 45-minute test drive with the redesigned model.
"Once they drive the car, any objections or concerns they have become less because they're actually driving it and realizing how fun it is," Maragno said. "Once that happens, they start convincing themselves."
Maragno said Nissan is nearly sold out of its 2017 Leafs nationwide with fewer than 200 units available.
"One of the reasons we've been able to sell down so quickly, even before we launched the new car, is because of our expansion into some different markets that we hadn't focused on before," Maragno said. Last spring, the brand began conducting test drives with its outgoing model in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Increasing its exposure helped boost Leaf sales by 50 percent in the Northeast, he said.
Several dealers in various markets around the country also stepped up their engagement with the outgoing model, including retailers in Kansas City; Austin, Texas; and Vermont.
"I'm glad we did it with the outgoing model, because that groundwork is laid when we bring the new car out there," Maragno said. "We've already done the work so we can reap the benefits."
He said Nissan will follow a normal allocation process when it comes to the redesigned model.
About 800 of Nissan's 1,100 dealers are now certified in sales and service to sell electric cars, he said — something that was not true when the first generation launched.
"Every dealer who is EV-certified is going to get a car," he said. "In terms of how many, we will look at prior sales history to make sure we're getting the right car to the right place."