Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn plans to overcome the slow pace of the Chinese electric auto market by bringing in more affordable green cars.
Even if the Chinese government intends to bring around 5 million electric and hybrid cars on roads by the end of the decade, the current market has a very slow pace, as prices are quite high for such green vehicles and customers are still focusing on big SUVs. Nissan has introduced its Leaf model on the Chinese market, but the demand for the car is only of a few hundreds per month. “We envision much bigger sales than that,” told Ghosn to Autocar magazine. “We know that the price is a handicap; people are buying very cheap electric cars,” he said. Therefore, the Alliance’s goal is to develop a cheap and frugal model to lure more customers. The automaker already confirmed last year it would build an electric vehicle based on the Renault Fluence with its local partner Dongfeng, at the new plant in Wuhan, but this model is not quite what the automaker is looking for to stir the market.
The biggest challenge is to find a good compromise between price and technology. “Obviously, however, with very low performance you can manage” to bring down the price, Ghosn said. “The question is, what is the best compromise between an acceptable performance and the lowest price possible?” Such a balance has not been found yet, but the automaker is willing to find a proper solution. ”I bet there is going to be a lot of development work on very affordable electric cars,” the CEO concluded.