Renault has a problem. Last year, Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said the two companies would not meet their collective goal of selling 1.5 million EVs a year by 2016. While sales of the Nissan Leaf have been strong – 115,000 globally so far - Renault sold less than 20,000 its EVs like the Zoe, the Fluence ZE and the Twizy last year.
Used to be if Renault wanted to celebrate a Formula One team with special edition, it would celebrate its own. But having sold the bulk of its own team to Lotus and Genii Capital in favor of supplying engines to a greater variety of independent teams, its latest commemorative hot hatches honor the (current) king of them all: Red Bull Racing.
The Renault Twingo wouldn't be one of the first vehicles that comes to mind when you think of luxury. In fact, just the opposite: it's one of Europe's most affordable little hatchbacks. But a new special edition aims to upset that particular apple cart through a collaboration with French jeweler Mauboussin.
There are two additional performance versions of the Renault Twingo joining the base model introduced earlier this year: the Twingo R.S. and Twingo Gordini R.S. They are set apart from the donor hatch by a lower bumper element meant to mimic the nose of an F1 car (Mercedes-Benz once did something similar with its sporty cars). The rear bumper is also reshaped, getting a diffuser and "aerodynamic extensions," and the tailgate is topped by a spoiler.
There's now word that the Daimler AG and Renault-Nissan tie-up, a collaborative deal that was made official back in April of 2010, is set to expand to include a compact Infiniti model that will feature a platform developed by Mercedes-Benz as well as a pair of electric vehicles. These are all slated to launch in 2014.
If you're looking at the above image and think "Nissan", well you're not far off. Though it may look like a new stablemate for the Juke, this is actually the latest Twingo, built by Renault (Nissan's industrial ally) atop the same platform as the previous-generation Micra.