2014 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Renault moves upscale with new, rwd Twingo

The Twin'Run 3-door concept shows 50% to 70% of the looks of the next Twingo. The new production Twingo will have 5 doors.
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RENNES, France -- Renault will debut its new Twingo minicar at the Geneva auto show in March. The minicar is the automaker's first production model resulting from its production alliance with Daimler.

The new Twingo will share the same platform as an upcoming four-seat Smart. Both cars will be rear-wheel drive and both will built at Renault's Novo Mesto, Slovenia factory.

Renault will unveil details of the Twingo on Thursday, Feb. 13. It has created a Web page where viewers can watch a virtual "striptease" of the vehicle.

The automaker believes the Twingo has "huge potential" to win conquest sales in Europe by targeting more male buyers, Automotive News Europe reported in June. The current Twingo is largely bought by women customers.

The third-generation Twingo will go on sale in the fourth quarter.

Switching the Twingo from front-wheel drive to rwd is part of a package of upscale features tha Renault will add to the minicar. Buyers will be offered a similar level of personalization options that are available for rivals such as the Fiat 500 and Opel/Vauxhall Adam.

The Twingo will also switch to a five-door layout. The current Twingo is offered only as a three-door model.

Renault last year previewed the Twingo's styling with the Twin'Z and Twin'Run concepts.

The Twingo's European sales fell 15.5 percent to 77,744 last year, according to JATO Dynamics market researcher.

You can reach Bruce Gain at bgain@crain.com.

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