Outspoken Italian businessman Lapo Elkann has accused the new Renault Twingo of copying the design of the Fiat 500.
Elkann, who is the former marketing manager of Fiat and brother of current Fiat chairman John Elkann, called on Renault to “stop the cheating” in a Facebook post with images of the 500 and a rendering of a new-generation Twingo.
“What do you think about the French copying the Fiat 500?!??!!!” Elkann asked his followers in the post. “Renault stop the cheating and be original! #fiat500 #beoriginal #becreative”.
Penned by Roberto Giolito, the new-generation Fiat 500 has been largely unchanged since launching in 2007 – some seven years before the unveiling of Laurens van den Acker’s all-new Renault Twingo, which took place in Geneva earlier this month.
Similarly styled circular headlights and foglights and a wide, U-shaped lower front intake mean there are some commonalities between the duo, though the Twingo uniquely features the brand’s signature front grille and five doors, not to mention a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Perhaps that's what Elkann was alluding to, given the original iconic 500 had its engine at the back.
While many followers agreed with Elkann’s assessment of the new Renault’s styling, some criticised his claim as hypocritical, claiming Fiat's neo-retro city car copied Volkswagen’s New Beetle and the new Mini Cooper that launched years earlier around the turn of the century.
The Fiat 500 is available in Australia from $15,000 driveaway. The new Renault Twingo is unlikely to be sold in our market.
Do you think the new Renault Twingo knocks off the styling of the Fiat 500? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.