VW gives up on sharing the Renault Twingo, no Airbus yet auto-sources

VW gives up on sharing the Renault Twingo, no Airbus yet auto-sources
VW gives up on sharing the Renault Twingo, no Airbus yet auto-sources

by Gilles Guillaume and Christina Amann

PARIS/BERLIN, May 17 (Reuters) – Volkswagen has ended discussions with Renault on sharing the architecture of the diamond group’s future electric Twingo and could develop and produce its next small, affordable electric car on its own, Volkswagen said. Reuters two sources close to the matter, a setback for the ambition to create a European champion in the face of Chinese competition.

“In the end, the two groups failed to reach an agreement,” one of the sources said, adding that the discussions, which had lasted for several months, had ended.

Another Source explained that a deal was very close, but that VW ultimately decided to develop its own vehicle in-house.

A spokeswoman for Ampere, Renault’s electrical and software unit that drives the Twingo program, declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for Volkswagen.

The latter added that the German manufacturer was still studying its affordable electric options. A decision is expected in the coming weeks if VW wants to be ready for 2027, a goal announced by the managing director of the eponymous brand, Thomas Schäfer, for a smaller and more affordable model than the ID.2.

Volkswagen is holding its annual general meeting on May 29.

Renault has, however, always said that the schedule and profitability of its program were modeled on the hypothesis where it remained alone on board, and that sharing with a partner would be a cherry on the cake.

The abandonment of sharing with Volkswagen, however, constitutes bad news for both groups while any shared development and any joint production are welcome in the automobile industry in order to reduce costs.

The end of discussions with VW also does not mean that another partner may not need the Twingo. At the last Geneva motor show at the end of February, Renault general manager Luca de Meo said he was “open to everyone who wants to use this platform.”

One of the sources confirmed that the Twingo program continued, even without VW, and that it remained open to other partners, for example from the alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi.

A Renault-Volkswagen industrial tandem would have constituted a first between two European general manufacturers in the “A” segment of small city cars, and embodied this pan-European “Airbus” of small cars that Luca de Meo regularly calls for.

“It was a great story for European industry, it could have laid the foundations for an Airbus (…) facing the Chinese,” said one of the sources.

Thursday at Renault’s general meeting, Luca de Meo reiterated that the group is “trying to see if Revoz – the Slovenian Renault factory where the current Twingo is assembled – is an option for the production” of the next generation of the car. (Reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris and Christina Amann in Berlin, editing by Kate Entringer)

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