PARIS -- Renault is jazzing up its aging Twingo small car as it struggles to compete with new models from Citroen and Fiat, plus the arrival of the nimble Smart runabout.
Renault said on Monday it would launch the restyled Twingo range in September, making it the car's 6th comsetic revamp since it hit showrooms 11 years ago.
Changes would include tweaked bodywork, extra colors, new gadgets and equipment, and modernized upholstery.
"We are aiming to maintain our share of the small car market, but competition is much tougher this year," said a Renault spokesman. "We hope that the restyling will give the car a younger look and boost sales."
The Twingo nabbed 9.2 percent of the small car market in 2003, when it was the segment's top-selling car in Europe.
However it has slipped to fourth place this year behind the Fiat Panda, the Citroen C2 and the Smart Fortwo, and looks set to miss its goal of maintaining market share in 2004.
The Smart car, so tiny it can be parked with its nose to the curb, is made by DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group.
A completely overhauled Twingo II is not due for launch until 2006, a year after a new version of its big sister Clio hits the road.
Renault is currently the darling of European mass car manufacturers after unveiling a leap in first-half profits thanks to the success of its new Megane mid-size range. Europe's fourth biggest carmaker has also pledged full-year profitability that beats virtually all its rivals.