Renault is aiming to catapult its Twingo offering into the No. 2 spot in the minicar segment, chairman Stefan Mueller told Automotive News Europe in an interview. Currently holding the title as the Europe's selling minicar is the Fiat 500. It is followed by the Fiat Panda and third-placed Volkswagen Up. However, to surpass the Panda and Up, Renault needs to sell twice as much Twingos it sold in 2013.
Mueller remarked that Renault will not be offering the minicar at a low price to win sales. "We won’t do anything just for the sake of volume,” he said. Renault unveiled the Twingo at the 2014 Geneva auto show and will start selling it this summer. The Twingo car features a rear-mounted engine, allowing it to offer more space than its rivals in the segment.
The rear-wheel-drive Twingo boasts of being able to turn in a very tight space, which is an advantage for drivers trying to park in Europe’s overcrowded cities. Competition in the minicar segment has been getting stiffer as a third of the top 20 minicar models will be either all-new or new-generation vehicles by the end of 2014.
IHS Automotive expects this huge product refresh to increase sales to 1.3 million units in 2016 from 1.1 million in 2013. Further boosting the minicar segment are more stringent carbon dioxide limits in 2020 and a recovery of the Italian car market, the largest market for minicars in Europe.
Carmakers have also started offering minicars with upscale features. For instance, three-door minicars like the 500 and the Opel/Vauxhaull Adam lets buyers to choose from dozens of color combinations, thus allowing their makers to post a higher margin than usual in what is considered as a low-profit segment.