Europe: Has Renault nailed the electric car with the Twizy?

Renault Twizy. Photo by Paul Foguenne, all rights reserved.

One of the most interesting newcomers on European streets this year but not qualifying as a passenger car, the Renault Twizy has been absent from Best Selling Cars Blog until today. I thought it was worth a quick update, nearly 6 months after its original launch in March 2012. With optional doors, a very limited range and a relatively rough ride, the Twizy was a tricky bet for Renault in a world where all-electric cars are still met with scepticism.

Renault enrolled world famous French DJ David Guetta as the Twizy’s ambassador, and after showing the model briefly in the ‘Where them girls at” video clip last year, Guetta created its ‘Alphabeat’ video clip solely around the electric Renault with dancers literally charging the vehicles with their feet… An interesting way for Renault to try and make the Twizy hip with youngsters.

I saw my first Twizy at the Paris Orly Airport yesterday.

At the end of June, Renault has sold a total of 6,057 Twizy in Europe, including 1,583 in June alone when sales in Germany were almost double as in France! The Twizy peaked at 2,113 units in April – a figure that would have placed it at #130 in the European models ranking that month, well above the Nissan Leaf at #230 with 345 units. Renault is happy, and is now planning to export the Twizy in “Turkey, Israel, South America, Japan and island-countries where it could fit perfectly a hotel/rental model”.

But there are mixed messages: in Spain where 671 Twizy have been sold so far (its #4 country after France, Germany and Italy), Renault offers the Twizy for free to buyers of its Espace and Laguna, equating to a 6,990 Euro discount and suggesting dealers may be having problems shifting the four-wheeled electric scooter. Wards Auto announced in June that Renault cancelled the Twizy’s 2nd production shift in its Valladolid, Spain assembly plant.

So, success or not? At a European scale, the Twizy has done much better already than other electric cars like the Nissan Leaf or even Renault’s other two ZE offers: the Fluence and Kangoo. As Renault does not communicate sales targets for the Twizy, it is difficult to judge for the moment but rest assured I will keep updating you on the Twizy’s career as soon as anything relevant comes up.

All the European Twizy sales figures up to June 2012 country by country are below.

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