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Renault Twingo off the agenda for Oz

No go: Renault Australia says there is no place in its line-up for the Smart ForFour-based Twingo city car.

The numbers don’t add up for Renault’s tiny Twingo runabout hatch in Australia

23 Oct 2014

RENAULT has confirmed that the newly released Twingo city car has no future in Australia as it currently stands, due to high importation costs from Europe in a segment that is fiercely price sensitive.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the French car-maker’s local arm explored all available options to get the third-generation rear-engined rear-wheel drive hatch into our market.

Instead, Renault will concentrate on building the brand with more mainstream models such as the Clio light hatch and the closely related Captur compact SUV, due early next year.

“To have it sitting appropriately below the Clio in our market… it just doesn’t work,” he told GoAuto at the Paris Motor Show earlier this month.

“And the Twingo is not a niche car… it’s built and priced for volume numbers in Europe. When you’re in that $14,000 to $16,000 price brand, all the landing costs for a car from the EU just makes it all too hard.

“I’d like to say ‘never say never’ but we’re focusing on building our business in Australia with core models, models that will increase our sales.

Along with the Clio and Captur, Renault will continue to price the existing Megane small car range very aggressively, ahead of an all-new version that arrives after its global debut in 2016.

“Our commitment in Australia over the last four years it to have the right product with the right specification at the right price,” Mr Hocevar added.

“And we cannot do that with Twingo.”

The tiny Slovenian-built runabout is the third-generation version of the car and shares its underpinnings with the new-generation Smart ForFour.

GoAuto understands that sealing the Twingo’s fate in Australia was Volkswagen’s inability to make the Up work in this country despite glowing reviews.

A Volkswagen spokesman said that all remaining Up stock should be cleared by the end of this year.

On the up side for baby-car lovers in this country, Kia is poised to enter the sub-B market in Australia with a facelifted version of the Picanto in the second half of next year, while Hyundai is considering bringing in its diminutive i10, which has been branded as best-in-class by influential British weekly car magazine, Autocar.

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