The recently unveiled prototype of the new electric Renault Twingo is just the latest step in a journey begun under Luca de Meo's leadership to tackle the challenge of electric mobility, building on the French carmaker's most iconic classic models.
The new battery-powered Twingo will cost less than €20,000 (approx. £17,500) and will be launched in 2025, but before that it will be the turn of the new Renault 5, due in 2024, followed by the return of the historic Renault 4 (also in 2025), also electric and, like the other two new models, aesthetically inspired by the original model.
Discover below these three new Renault models on the way, which play on the 'nostalgia effect'. Will they be enough to make them a success in the various European markets?
Renault Twingo (2025)
Let's start with the vehicle that has just been unveiled, the Renault Twingo concept, which is reminiscent of the shape of the original car launched in 1992. The new concept car, which previews the 2025 production model, features semi-circular front and rear lights, rounded shapes and the three bonnet vents.
Renault Twingo 2025 prototype
The first Twingo, however, had a three-door body, while the new one will have five doors, with the rear door handle integrated into the C-pillar. The prototype also features the addition of small body guards, but it is not known whether these will be retained on the production model.
Renault Twingo 1992-2013
De Meo himself, who has confirmed a price of less than €20,000 for the Twingo and a fuel consumption of just 10 kWh per 100 km, describes the new electric city car as "the European kei car": small, elegant, iconic and perfect for transporting one person around town. In short, the new Twingo, for De Meo, is:
"The answer to many problems, challenges and paradoxes we have to face, such as the profitability of minicars, geopolitical issues related to China, sustainability and logistical issues."
Renault 5 (2024)
The Renault 5 is another near-immortal icon of the French marque, with a new version of the first series (1972-1985) to offer a new five-door electric car to be presented in the spring of 2024.
Renault 5 electric prototype
In fact, the Italian executive has bet heavily on the revival of a highly successful model such as the Renault 5, unveiled in prototype form in early 2021 with the presentation of the Renaulution business plan.
The new Renault 5, based on Ampere's AmpR Small platform, an evolution of the CMF-B EV, will have a base price of around €25,000 (£22,000) and fully represents De Meo's 'credo':
"Revivals make all the sense in the world and in the near future could be decisive in accelerating people's choice of an electric car. When you revive certain codes that people are already used to, you immediately lower the barriers. That's what happens.
Renault 4 (2025)
In De Meo's forthcoming electric range, the Renault 4 will also have a place of honour. It is an electric crossover that we will see on the road in 2025 with a price tag of around €25,000 and whose styling is clearly inspired by the historic R4 or 4L of 1961-1995.
Although somewhat hidden under the extreme 'off road' shapes of the 4EVERTrophy concept, it is easy to see many similarities with the historic R4 of the 1960s and 1970s, starting with the flat grille with the two rounded headlights and the shape of the third side window.
Renault 4 1961-1995
Presenting it at the 2022 Paris Motor Show, Renault's CEO described it as follows:
"The 4L is a myth, and myths never die! Today, it is this dimension of the 4L as a universal car, as a car that everyone loves, that we want to rediscover through a modern, electric reinterpretation of the Renault 4".
The 4L is one of the most iconic cars in Renault's history. The 4EVER Trophy is therefore a modern reinterpretation of the Renault 4, pushing us towards an electric future.
Utility cars and retro cars, Luca de Meo's passions
Luca de Meo has long experience and a flair for planning the production of city and utility cars inspired by models from the past.
In fact, the Milanese executive began his career in the automotive world back in 1992 with the launch of the Renault Twingo and Clio in both Italy and France, moving to Toyota Europe to drive the arrival of the first Yaris, and then to the Fiat Group to become one of the main architects of the success of the Fiat 500, the Alfa Romeo MiTo and the Abarth brand.
Luca de Meo, Sergio Marchionne and the Fiat 500
In 2009, De Meo joined the Volkswagen Group where, unsurprisingly, he was responsible for the launch of the new Beetle. He then moved to SEAT, where he was responsible for the independence of CUPRA. In 2020, he returned to the Renault Group, where he initiated the Renaulution metamorphosis, relaunched all the brands, including Alpine and Dacia, and started the Ampere adventure.