Running low on fuel at gas pumps has spurred French consumers to choose electric vehicles as an alternative.
Strikes by oil industry workers has brought production to a standstill in France. Shortages of “petrol,” or gasoline and diesel, have led to long lines at gas pumps
It’s presented an opportunity for automakers to sell more plug-in electric vehicles. CNN reports that French manufacturers have been able to tap into the fuel shortage in marketing campaigns, and they’re already seeing increased interest in their electric vehicles.
Renault has launched a new ad campaign for its Zoe electric car. Renault’s marketing is tapping into channels such as social media posts such as Twitter and newspaper advertisements.
“In France, we don’t have any more petrol but we do have Zoe,” read one tweet.
The campaign led to a 50-percent increase in phone calls from consumers for information about the Zoe, according to Renault. It presents a marketing opportunity during a year when the best-selling electric car in Europe in 2015 is facing stiffer competition from the Nissan Leaf, which is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
French automaker Citroën posted a photo on Twitter showing electric cars representing the red, white, and blue of the French flag.
“Fed up with queuing? Here’s a solution,” read the photo caption on Twitter.
The conflict over oil production jumped last week with strikes at oil refineries starting up. These have been in response by unions to new labor laws that reportedly make it easier for employers to fire workers, and reduce overtime pay.
The French government has been offering generous purchase incentives for new electric vehicles. Incentive programs have included bonuses for consumers who bring their old diesel cars to scrapyards when they buy new plug-ins.
Incentives have helped bring more EV sales to the country. In 2015, France was Europe’s second-largest market for electric vehicles, with the U.K. in first place, according to data from LMC Automotive.