Renault has high hopes for its new Twingo minicar, which will switch to a five-door layout in a move that may help the automaker win customers downsizing from larger vehicles.
Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares believes the Twingo has "huge potential" to win conquest sales in Europe by targeting more male buyers.
"One of the messages we are conveying with this car is that we are able to address female and male customers with the same product," Tavares told Automotive News Europe.
The current Twingo, available only as a three-door, is largely bought by women customers, he said.
The third-generation Twingo will go on sale in the fourth quarter of next year. It will share a rear-wheel-drive platform with the new Smart ForFour as part of an alliance between Smart's parent, Daimler, and Renault-Nissan.
The Twingo will compete with cars such as the Fiat 500 and Opel/Vauxhall Adam by offering a similar level of personalization options. Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker said personalization "is much more successful than we thought it would be."
He said: "We all look with admiration at the success of the 500. The best cars have a double personality. They look feminine and masculine at the same time."
The rear-engine, rear-drive layout of the new Twingo will free more space for passengers. "With the engine in the rear you can shift the instrument panel forward and have a relatively large cabin for a short length," van den Acker said.
Switching the Twingo from front-wheel drive to rwd is part of a package of upscale features that Renault will add to the minicar.