Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer, the head of Renault’s electric vehicle programme said that Nissan had ‘done a lot of trailblazing in tackling EV scepticism’ but added he will be thinking hard about how to market electric vehicles more effectively.
‘The biggest thing we have learnt from Nissan’s Leaf would be that you still need to tell people about the vehicle,’ said Andy Heiron.
‘Nissan had a very strong order bank for the Leaf, but in terms of product awareness it’s still not there because they didn’t do the big media launch.
‘Nissan did a lot of one-on-one customer stuff, they did a very good job with their road show tour, but they didn’t do quite such a good job in terms of telling the mass market with TV ads and big press campaigns.’
Heiron said he will be doing ‘the big media launch’ with both Twizy and Zoe getting air time on national television, and the Twizy becoming the subject of a social media campaign to get Renault’s EV message ‘out there’ and in the public’s consciousness.
‘The big leap forward for Nissan is when Sunderland starts building the Leaf,’ Heiron went on to say. ‘To put it politely, Nissan have had to manage supply issues because the UK is one of a number of markets wanting the Leaf. If the Leaf takes off strongly in the USA, for example, all of the product will go there.
‘From a Renault UK point of view, we have put down some strong markers in terms of what we believe the UK market is worth.’
Heiron added that even though there were conservative forecasts for the sales of Renault EVs this year, there was ‘a massive element of crystal ball-gazing’ at the moment for the French firm.