GENEVA –SA has installed annual capacity for 210,000 units of the new Twingo at its plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, officials at the auto show here say.
The Twingo, based on the former Clio that remains in production in Slovenia, was delayed for more than a year as product planners brought its business plan into line with’s Contract 2009, which promises a 6% operating profit in 2009.
The new Twingo unveiled here is larger than its predecessor and will be offered in right-hand-drive versions for the first time. It retains its centrally located instrument panel and fully modular backseats that fold and slide up to make more storage space.
The new-generation model will be offered with a 1.5L diesel making 100 hp and emitting just 113 g/km of carbon dioxide, as well as the 100-hp 1.5L TDE gasoline engine that emits 120 g/km of CO2. A 1.2L gasoline engine also will be offered.
The European Commission recently issued mandatory regulations that limit CO2 emissions from new passenger cars to 120 g/km, a reduction of about 25% from current levels, by 2012.
Renault expects diesel sales to be less than 50%, as the larger Clio III is running about 55% diesel.
The biggest loss for the new Twingo is its former “cuteness.” In order to meet European pedestrian crash standards, the front end grew into a true 2-box form and the round headlights gave way to a more modern but less individualized eye shape.
However, a Renault spokesman says the loss of “cute” will probably help Twingo sales in Europe. The predecessor Twingo, which was launched in 1992 at the Paris auto show, has sold more than 2.4 million units and continues to find customers mainly in France and Germany, he says.
But customers elsewhere are expected to like the more classic look of the new car.
The new Twingo still is aiming for its quota of cute with a variety of 20-some different factory-applied decals for the exterior, such as flowers and geometric patterns. Inside options include a make-up box and other glove-box enhancements.
An Audio Connection Box will connect personal music collections on USB drives, MP3 players and iPods to be played through the car’s audio system. Another option is a hands-free Bluetooth cell-phone option with a “hold” function.
At 142 ins. (360 cm) long, the Twingo is 8 ins. (20 cm) shorter than the Clio II, still on sale as the Clio Campus and the Modus. The Clio III is 157 ins. (399 cm) long, giving Renault four nameplates in the A and B segments.
Renault says a third of European small car buyers are under 35 years of age, including 11% who are under 25, and the audio connection box is aimed squarely at them.