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Oil spill messes Renault Zoe shipment

Oil’s revenge: Renault’s electric-powered Zoe could not escape the grip of fossil fuels when an oil spill on board a car-carrier ship from Europe polluted freshly minted cars bound for Australia.

Renault Zoe EVs quarantined after on-board oil spill on ship from France

2 Aug 2019

JUST when Renault Australia was looking forward to renewing sales of its all-electric Zoe city runabout after a four-month stock drought, an oil spill on board a ship carrying the cars to Australia has dirtied the well-laid plans.


Oil-polluted cars unloaded from the ship when it arrived in Australia in July have been quarantined in Australian ports while the shipping company and a team of third-party experts work with Renault to clean up the mess and assess the damage.


Renault had about 120 vehicles on the ship, including a large batch of 75 Zoes.


Renault says that while a number of other Renault vehicles such as Clios, Kangoos and Trafic vans also had been affected by the spill in the car-carrier’s cargo area on the way from Europe, the Zoe was the most affected with 90 per cent of the stock given an unexpected and unnecessary external oil change.


Renault Australia managing director Anouk Poelmann said all affected vehicles would be given a full inspection.


“It is our commitment that no single vehicle will be released to our dealer network unless we are 100 per cent satisfied that there is no impact on the exterior, interior or future reliability of the vehicle,” she said.


Renault ran out of Zoe stock in March after selling just two units this year, but thanks to a production slot opening up, was able to order more Zoes from the Flins factory, northwest of Paris.


These are the current 41kWh model, not the facelifted version that will get a bigger 52kWh battery and greater (390km) driving range when it goes on sale in Australia in 2020.


The company has not disclosed how many vehicles were affected by the oil spill, but Renault told GoAuto in June that it had a backlog of Australian customers awaiting Zoes.


For Renault Australia, all contributions would have been welcome as its overall sales are down 27.7 per cent in the first half of this year – from 5439 in the first six months of 2018 to 3934 in the same period of this year.

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