Renault partners Chinese firm for 2026 Twingo EV

As evidence of the viability of building small cars in Europe, Vanel pointed to the €25,000 (roughly £21,275) starting price of the 5. “This car is produced in France, and this car is profitable,” he said.

He even suggested that cheaper versions of the 5 could be added to the line-up if new battery technology allows – and they too would have a profit margin built in.

The question of localising EV production has become particularly poignant for Renault as the French government has begun offering substantial EV purchase incentives that favour European-built cars.

Subsidies of €5000-€7000 (£4255-£5955) are available on cars with a carbon footprint of below 14.75 tonnes, which inherently favours local production.

The hugely popular Dacia Spring, for example, is imported from China and the resulting increase in carbon footprint makes it ineligible for the grants.

This pushes its entry price from just over €17,000 (£14,465) to more than €22,000 (£18,720) in France.

Vanel acknowledged that it is “difficult” to compete at that price, emphasising the need to ensure the similarly sized Twingo is engineered, assembled and shipped as cost-effectively as possible.

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