The alliance has been selling the Nissan Leaf as a rebadged model – called Venucia e30 and sold by Dongfeng Nissan in the People’s Republic. But it’s far from a successful sales story.
According to figures officially released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the all-electric hatchback which costs 242, 800 yuan (about $35, 900) was only delivered in 1,273 examples last year. Renault-Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn has apparently announced new plans to develop a low-cost electric vehicle specifically for the Chinese market. The news broke at the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference during which Ghosn added details such as the target sales price – between $7,000 and $8,000 before any applicable local incentives for electric cars.
Such a model should “change the game” but before that becomes possible the company will be releasing the Fluence Z.E. adapted for the local market. The model should be released next year with local assembly taking place at Renault’s factory located in Wuhan – though chief competitive officer Thierry Bollore has already estimated only a few thousand units will be sold each year. Renault has experience in delivering low cost success stories – just look at the international fortunes of the Dacia brand – but we do see the difficulty in delivering a $7,000-$8,000 priced all-electric model and still have a profit.