Renault SA (Euronext: RNO) has halted production of its electric car, the Fluence ZE and will close its production line in Turkey, foreign media sources report. The Fluence ZE was originally designed and produced, at an investment of hundreds of millions of euros, including the replaceable battery, for Better Place. The car also had a version with a permanent rechargeable battery.
Production of the replaceable battery version was halted following the collapse of Better Place in May 2013, but Renault continued production and sales in Europe of the rechargeable battery version. However, the carmaker has decided to halt all production of the Fluence ZE, due to meager sales.
Industry sources estimate that Renault's Better Place misadventure, including development of the Fluence ZE, establishment of the production line with a capacity of tens of thousands of cars a year, and the establishment of a production for the car's battery, cost the company several hundred millions euros. In addition, Better Place's investors lost $800 million.
Israel's Renault importer Carasso Motors Ltd. (TASE: CRSO) says that Renault will continue supporting Fluence ZE cars already sold in Israel. Industry experts believe, however, that the car will become a collectors' item within a few years, because of the limited number of cars produced.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 19, 2014
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