Renault is afraid that the ZOE will steal the spotlight from the fourth-gen Clio.

Renault has once again delayed the launch of its all-electric ZOE hatchback because it is afraid the car will steal the spotlight away from the fourth-generation Clio.

The ZOE and the Clio are very similar in size and will compete in the same market segment. The ZOE's base price will be significantly higher than the Clio's but a government bonus awarded for the purchase of a zero-emission car will bring it down to within a few hundred euros of its gasoline-powered cousin's price tag.

Presented at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the ZOE was initially earmarked for a September launch. That date was pushed back to later this year because the 2013 Clio made its public debut in Paris that same month.

While a few ZOEs will be shipped to dealers in December of this year to be used for test drives, the first customer deliveries are now slated to take place in January of 2013.

"If we debut the two cars too close together we will not be able to exploit the power of the launch for marketing purposes," explained Carlos Tavares, Renault's Chief Operating Officer, during a conference held in Belgium.

In spite of the delays, Renault has big hopes for the ZOE.

"We are confident in its success and impatient to launch it," said Tavares.