Economy & Politics

Renault signs the comeback of the R5

By announcing the return of the flagship model of the 1980s and the Lada Niva, the diamond brand is part of a line of “neo-retro” attempts, between the success of the Fiat 500 and the flop of the e-Mehari .

By announcing the return of the flagship model of the 1980s and the Lada Niva, the diamond brand is part of a line of “neo-retro” attempts, between the success of the Fiat 500 and the flop of the e-Mehari .

(AFP) – Queen of the 70s, inexpensive, reliable, made sympathetic by advertisements in comic strips, the Renault 5 dominated the French market at the end of the 1970s. Nicknamed “Supercar” and produced at nearly 6 million d ‘copies from 1972 to 1984, it had been replaced by the Supercinq until 1996. But now a new R5 is announced by the French manufacturer. “An affordable 100% electric car”. A model that will not however be visible for the Luxembourg Autofestival, scheduled from January 25 to February 8.

This is not the first neo-retro attempt by Renault, which now bases all its sporting strategy on the Alpine brand, queen of rallies in the early 1970s.

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In addition to countless concept cars, many manufacturers have revived their icons in series. Launched in 1998, Volkswagen’s New Beetle has had mixed success. The German manufacturer will soon release a new version of its Combi, darling of the hippies. BMW has modernized the Mini with unprecedented success, and Fiat has boosted sales with its new 500. The two manufacturers have taken advantage of the success of these city cars to launch entire ranges, ranging from sports bomblets to SUVs.

“Manufacturers rely on emblematic models, which have had great commercial success,” explains Flavien Neuvy, of the Cetelem automobile observatory. “It immediately speaks to the ears of millions of motorists, it’s free advertising.” “It’s also a way for brands to remind customers, who are increasingly unfaithful, that they have a common history. Everyone knows someone who has had an R5. And the younger generations are very open to the vintage side, ”continues the expert.

The bet of neo-retro is tempting, but manufacturers hesitate to rub shoulders with it. Citroën got into it with the e-Mehari, an electric version of its ultralight leisure car released in 1968. Relaunched in 2015, a bit expensive and lacking in versatility, it only sold a thousand dollars. copies and production was stopped after four years. “Neo-retro is very clever from a marketing point of view, but it is not the guarantee of success either”, underlines Flavien Neuvy at the Cetelem Observatory.


Nothing stands in the way of the merger between French manufacturers PSA (Peugeot, Citroën) and Italian-American Fiat Chrysler (FCA) to form the world’s fourth largest automotive group


“The first criterion for buying a new car is price, before reliability and design. The car must be successful but also that it remains accessible to the core target, the middle classes who will not put 35,000 euros in a car ”. Citroën had more success with its compact C3, granddaughter of the 2CV, and its DS brand.

There is no lack of nods to the past, less risky, in recent models: the luxurious Citroën C6 takes the line of the 1974 CX, the badge of the Peugeot 508 returns to the front as on the 504, just like the Renault Laguna 3 is inspired by the R16. When a builder hesitates for too long, he can be beaten by his fans. In Italy, Totem Automobili has developed an electric and very exclusive version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia from the 1960s. And the chemical giant Ineos will launch in France the construction of its large 4×4 Grenadier, a rustic clone of the Land Rover Defender, whose original became a luxury SUV.


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