Despite a major advertising campaign at an investment of millions of shekels, and marketing to institutional and private customers, Shay Agassi's electric car venture Better Place Inc. managed to sell only 80 new cars in Israel in August. In total, the company has sold 350 Renault Fluence cars since the start of 2012 including leasing vehicles for Better Place's own employees. In the automobile industry, a large proportion of sales of a new advanced model is usually in the first months after launch.
Better Place said that following the ad campaign there have been thousands of enquiries from interested customers but "customer interest takes time to grow into actual sales." The company believes that it will deliver some 150 electric cars in September including leasing deliveries. Better Place had previously reported that it had 1,500 definite orders from companies and organizations for sales of cars in the coming months.
However, sources in the car industry believe that the leasing companies that signed distribution agreements with Better Place are deliberately reducing orders for electric vehicles to lower the financial risk stemming from uncertainty. Better Place believes that orders will rise following the hike in gasoline prices, which will significantly increase fuel costs to companies.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 2, 2012
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