PARIS -- Renault launched the first step in a fresh design direction with the Trezor concept for a Grand Tourer-style electric coupe.
Renault's current styling -- introduced in 2010 on the DeZir concept -- has been a major factor in winning new customers, the company said. In the first half, Renault brand passed Ford to become Europe's No. 2--selling marque after Volkswagen.
The Trezor concept will influence the styling of the next Clio, due in 2018, just as the current Clio, launched in 2012, introduced design cues from the DeZir.
Renault's next designs will emphasize connectivity, autonomous driving and well-being in the car as the vehicle takes over more driving functions, design chief Laurens van den Acker said.
"The rules have changed," van den Acker told Automotive News Europe at the auto show here. "We have to add more autonomy, screens, information, technology, sophistication and refinement into our vehicles. It is a big challenge, but it is also a luxury we have."
The design changes to Renault's lineup will not be as radical as seen during this current cycle.
Renault will not "reinvent the wheel again," van den Acker said. "With the last generation, we needed to create a new design chapter in Renault's story," he said. "This time, we will build on the foundation that we created six years ago. The revolution has already been made and it seems to be going well."
Despite the sporty and premium-like styling of the Trezor concept, van den Acker said Renault will not depart from its generalist roots as a carmaker. "We are not designing cars for the elitists and the happy few -- our job is to make life better for everybody," van den Acker said.
The Trezor's 350-hp electric drivetrain can accelerate the car from 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) in less than 4 seconds. Its batteries are located separately, one at the front and the other at the rear, giving the rear-wheel-drive Trezor optimal weight distribution, Renault said, which enhances driving pleasure.