Going where the sales are.
The Renault Twizy may have found its audience. A rare sight on North American shores — the low-speed version of the 2-seater had been available for lease in Canada — the funky quadricycle has had dismal sales since shortly after it began production. In fact, between 2012 and 2017, the French automaker has only managed to move an average of about 3,800 examples of the all-electric oddity per year. The single bright spot has been South Korea, where it was introduced in 2016, and so now assembly of the vehicle is being shipped to that East Asian peninsula.
The French automaker blames the poor sales figures on the lack of charging infrastructure, but guess what region has lots of charging points and, relatively, high Twizy sales? Yup, South Korea. So, instead of canceling the program outright, the company will shift production to the Renault Samsung factory in Busan. Though historically 60 percent of Twizy production had been exported, more recently upwards of 90 percent had been funneled to Korea to meet demand.
While we're not sure how many people the assembly line will employ there, according to Ward's Auto, the headcount at the current Twizy plant in Valladolid, Spain had dwindled down to a mere 33 persons. No doubt the shift of production should help bring up margins on its Asian sales, which should help the company's bottom line. It will also free up space at the Spanish facility for other work.
With Twizy gone from Valladolid, production of battery packs for the plug-in hybrid versions of the Renault Captur and Megane will happen there instead. The arrangement will also add a few more jobs for the plant, with estimates of 70 workers needed to handle that task.
There remain no plans to bring the Twizy to the U.S., which makes sense. There top spec of the car is limited to a 50 mile-per-hour top speed and it isn't exactly weather-proof. Still, we're kind of sad it isn't available to rent at certain destination locations — a marketing plan startup Arcimoto is pursuing, and one which Renault had actually experimented with in San Francisco for a short period. We kind of like the idea of rambling around the Florida Keys, for example, in one of the contraptions. Especially if it was kitted out like the Sport F1 Concept from a few years back.
Source: Ward's Auto