The second largest dealer group in the Czech Republic, Auto Palace, registered in the first months of this year an increased demand for alternative-fuel vehicles. The most successful brand in sales is Mitsubishi, which increased the sales of environmentally friendly cars by 25 % in comparison with the last year. The Škoda, Volvo and Hyundai brands also celebrate the success. Almost all cars within this category are used by new owners for business purposes, most often for food distribution or operation of taxi service.
Auto Palace as a reseller of 8 brands provides more than half of them with the possibility of alternative-fuel version. Mitsubishi currently offers alternative-fuel models Outlander and ASX, Skoda it models Octavia and Citigo, Volvo XC 90, S 90, V 90 and V 60, Ford its popular Mondeo and Hyundai entered this segment with the electric Ioniq.
Saleswise the most successful are currently Outlander from Mitsubishi and Skoda Octavia and Citigo. For example, Skoda Octavia is acquired by the customers to operate taxis, then Citigo for the distribution of food. Most popular are still cars on CNG, where the return is fast and the external cost can reach up to the price of 1 CZK per kilometer.
Even though the conditions for alternative-fuel vehicles are getting better in the Czech Republic, brand salesmen from Auto Palace name several disadvantages. The most offen reason that discourages customers from buying the alternative-fuel cars is a small amount of refueling and recharging stations, impossibility to park at underground garages, charging electric vehicles at home and of course higher purchase price.
"Last year, we welcomed a start of the grant program of the Ministry of the Environment that gives the opportunity to get finances for purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles for regions and municipalities. It is a good move that, if successful, could expand also to private customers," says Ralph Howie, CEO of Auto Palace for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. "From the feedback from our customers it is clear that if there was a possibility to get some kind of subsidy, they would consider the purchase more likely," adds Ralph Howie.
Auto Palace Group is a part of the Netherlands group AutoBinck founded in 1907 in Hague.