Renault can’t commit to Twingo

Renault will not offer its alternative to the tiny Smart car locally unless it arrives at the right price.

Speaking at the launch of the new Clio GT, Renault’s Australian boss Justin Hocevar says costs will determine whether the Twingo city car comes to Australia.

“We’re absolutely interested in it, we think it’s a fantastic car and we would love to have it here in the market,” he says.

“But the challenge for us, as we’ve always said, is that we don’t want to bring cars to market unless we can price them correctly in their segment.

“We’d love to get it but not until we can get a business case that is rock-solid, where the vehicle can sit naturally within our existing product portfolio at the right price.”

The current Renault Twingo is a compact front-wheel-drive hatch not offered in Australia. The next-generation model has been developed as part of a platform sharing arrangement with the next rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive Smart ForTwo.

Both cars have reportedly been engineered for electric drivelines, adding extra appeal..

Cut-throat competition in city cars have driven profit margins to less than $100.

Volkswagen recently stopped importing its smallest car, the Up hatchback, which was originally priced from $13,990 plus on-road costs.

Hocevar says a city car such as the Twingo would have to sit well below the current entry-level Clio, which is priced from $16,790 plus on-road costs.

“There is no point fighting an uphill battle in what is already a highly competitive segment if you can’t be priced right,” he says.

“Everything else is between $13,000 and $15,000 drive away.”

Renault’s Australian boss also says the company is keen to offer an upcoming hot hatch capable of setting a Nurburgring lap record for its class, along with exclusive Renault Alpine cars in the works.

“The Alpine project is something well on track, still something we are committed to,” he says.

“We keep putting our hand up and expressing our keenest interest.”

This story Renault can’t commit to Twingo first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.