Renault's Free Twizy PromotionEnlarge Photo
As we pointed out yesterday, sales of purely electric cars in the U.S. aren’t as high as many in the industry hoped they would be.
In an attempt to get more customers, Nissan has lowered the lease prices of its 2012 Nissan Leaf SV and 2012 Nissan Leaf SL, while automakers in Europe have slashed electric car sticker prices by $11,000.
To date however, we've never heard of electric cars being given away for free.
But French automaker Renault is not giving away free electric cars because electric car sales are low: It is giving away free electric cars as part of an attempt to sell its unpopular gas models.
2012 Renault TwizyEnlarge Photo
According to Australian website CarAdvice, Renault dealers in Spain are now trying to incentivize customers to buy some of its slower-selling mid-size gasoline-powered wagons, sedans and minivans by throwing in an all-electric Twizy microcar for free to sweeten the deal.
The move is a drastic measure by the French automaker to cope with its lowest sales figures in Spain for 19 years.
Affecting the entire Spanish auto market, the drop in sales has been brought about by the deepening Europe-wide recession, one which the IMF warns could remain in Spain until 2014.
Built in Spain, the tiny Twizy is Renault’s latest all-electric car for the European market.
With no side windows and a top speed of just 52 mph, the tiny, $10,000 Twizy inhabits a strange world between a full-size car, a neighborhood electric vehicle, and a scooter.
Renault Twizy first drive, Ibiza
Renault Twizy first drive, IbizaEnlarge Photo
When we test-drove one in Ibiza earlier this year, its bright, funky design and go-kart handling qualities certainly suited the warm Mediterranean climate.
But with many Spaniards struggling to find the money for everyday items like utility bills and the weekly shop, we’re not sure how many will be able to afford to spend $27,000 (or more) on a brand-new Renault Laguna Wagon, Latitude Sedan or Espace Minivan just to get the $10,000 Twizy for free.
Would the same approach work in the U.S., with electric cars being used to sweeten the deal on slow-to-sell luxury cars?
Let us know in the Comments below.