If Volkswagen wants to draw a line under its past, Renault is betting a lot on neo-retro for its future electric cars. The tricolor firm is preparing to launch a new electric version of its R5 as well as the R4 a little later.
Renault has been working on the electrification of its range for years now, with its Zoé and its Twizy in particular, well ahead of its time, while the market for cars without an electric license is set to grow strongly. But the firm will still have to speed up the pace, since the European Union will ban the sale of thermal cars from 2035.
The manufacturer already has a busy program, since next year it will launch its new Renault 5 E-Tech, an electric city car which had already been prefigured by a concept in 2021. The latter should also be quite close to the production version and is strongly inspired by the original version from the 1970s. And for good reason, the firm strongly believes in the influence of the past.
Questioned by the journalists of the British site Coach, the tricolor group’s design boss, Laurens van den Acker, explains that reinventing retro designs is “irresistible” for the brand’s CEO, Luca de Meo. It is also the latter who was at the origin of the return of the Fiat 500 in 2007, with the success that we know of.
The automaker’s styling director goes on to say that most people expect electric cars are sleek, cool and a bit anonymous. He hopes for his part to see a little more wealth in the future of the latter, and underlines that the brand is doing its best to achieve this. For him, ” the Renault 5 and Renault 4 will be real electric vehicles, but they will be legendary icons“.
For the record, the Renault 5 was unveiled at the beginning of last year and embodies the face of the Renaulution announced by De Meo. This strategic plan aims in particular to massively electrify the manufacturer’s range, in order to be in line with the deadline imposed by the European Union. But other models are also in preparation, such as the electric R4, again announced by a prototype last year.
Change of strategy
However, the manufacturer has not always wanted to pay homage to the past. Laurens van den Acker recalls that on arriving at the head of design at the diamond firm in 2009, the question of revive the Alpine or the R4 had asked, but the latter had replied that he was there to imagine the future, not the past.
But the less optimistic context and no doubt also the attraction for old cars prompted the brand to review its strategy. On the other hand, the style director admits that the Mégane E-Tech and the Scénic are very modern cars and are not intended to recall the past and play on the string of nostalgia. He also explains that the Renault 5 could not have had this style if it had been equipped with a combustion engine.
But not all manufacturers agree with this strategy, and in particular Volkswagen. The German firm seems to want to draw a line under its past, when it claimed a few months earlier that relying on nostalgia to revive certain models would lead to an impasse. It thus showered our hopes of seeing the Beetle return in a more modern form and with an electric motor.
However, it is rumored that future models will take the name of iconic cars, such as the Golf or the Tiguan, which would take the ID prefix, as for ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and other IDs. buzz. An ID.2 is also in preparation, competing head-on with the future R5 but adopting a very different stylistic strategy.