Bearing the same moniker as the second-generation BMW 3 Series’ codename, the e30 sold as a Venucia in China by Dongfeng Nissan is far from being a success in the People’s Republic. Nothing more than a rebadged Leaf, the all-electric hatchback kicks off at 242,800 yuan (about $35,900) and last year only 1,273 units were sold based on the numbers released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
Faced with the failure of the expensive Venucia e30, Renault-Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn announced today plans to work on a low-cost electric vehicle to cater the Chinese market. The reveal was made in Paris while speaking at the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference during which Ghosn revealed the two automakers are targeting a price between $7,000 and $8,000 before any applicable local incentives for electric cars. He went on to specify that if it will be possible, the cheap EV will have what it takes to “change the game.”
Ghosn wants to capitalize on the growing popularity of EVs in China not just with this new cheap car, but also with the Fluence Z.E. adapted for the local market. Already spotted testing, the model in question is scheduled to go on sale next year once assembly will kick off at Renault’s factory located in Wuhan by using kits sourced from the plant in Korea. But the all-electric Fluence won’t really have a significant impact on Renault’s sales in China taking into account the company’s chief competitive officer, Thierry Bollore, estimates only a few thousand units will be sold annually. That is why a very affordable model is necessary to get a larger piece of China’s EV action.
Renault’s low-cost Dacia brand has turned out to be a huge hit thanks to a lineup of cheap, no-frills cars, but it’s going to be more difficult to develop an all-electric model to sell it for $7,000-$8,000 and still make a profit.
Source: Renault-Nissan via Automotive News Europe