PORTO, Portugal -- Renault is developing a convertible based on its Twingo minicar, a company executive told Automotive News Europe.
"We are working on a small convertible for 2010," Renault's deputy vice president of the small-car segment Yves-Eric Morel said.
Morel declined to confirm recently published reports in the specialized automotive press that say the two-seat model will be called the "Twingup."
He also declined to comment on reports that the car would feature a manual roof rather than a power roof to keep prices below competitors such as the Peugeot 207 CC and Opel/Vauxhall Tigra TwinTop.
In Germany, the base price for the 207 CC is 19,600 euros while the Tigra TwinTop starts at 20,930 euros. Both models have electronically controlled retractable hardtops.
Another competitor will be Fiat's planned 500 convertible, which debuts next month and is expected to cost about 13,000 euros. The 500 C will offer a fabric roof that can be folded toward the rear, much like versions of the 500 sold in the 1950s and 1960s.
The open-air Twingo will cost about 15,000 euros, according to French media reports.
Renault promises that its open-air car will be unlike its rivals.
"It's going to be a niche vehicle, and like any niche vehicle, the objective will be to do something different, that gives a boost to the brand's image," Morel said during a press event here. "We're not going to do a Twingo CC."
The Twingo-based convertible was not on a list of new product launches unveiled earlier this year by Renault Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata. Company sources say the new car could be unveiled during the Frankfurt auto show in September and go on sale in mid-2010.