Spurred on by the success of BMW's Mini, Fiat's 500 and VW's Beetle, Renault is actively considering the relaunch of the 5 to slot below the Clio, CAR has learned.
However, a new Renault 5 would not be a retro car, according to senior sources in Paris. 'We have no retro cars in our plan,' said our mole.
And this would not be a Super Cinq, second-generation Renault 5 reborn either - but a modern project harking back to the 1972 original, insisted our top-level insider.
Renault to relaunch the 5
'We are seriously thinking about bringing back the Renault 5 to underpin the Clio,' said our source.
The new, reinvented 5 would be in addition to the next Twingo. It's part of a plan to reinvigorate Renault's lacklustre current range; the modern cars designed under new styling chief Laurens van den Acker should all be in place by 2016.
Explaining how it would be a modern city car, our source said: 'It would have to be modern in the sense that the original Renault 5 was modern in 1972.'
How soon could a new Renault 5 be relaunched?
'We are thinking about it very hard right now,' he said.
When asked if it could be five years away our source said it could be sooner. Let's call it two to three years away, bearing in mind the quickest a project could be turned around is 24 months.
He admitted that the company is also considering a 4-based project, but the 5 is deemed internally to be more likely. 'Whenever we look at doing another car in the spirit of the 4, we come across the same problem: people don't have a problem with the design, but they do expect lots of equipment nowadays. They say "Where's the carpet? Where's the dual-climate control?"'
The news comes as Renault tries to reinvent itself. Last month in December 2011, it pulled a dramatic retreat from the UK market as it pulled the Laguna, Modus, Wind and Espace from the UK market to concentrate on its more profitable smaller cars. Click here to read about Renault's extraordinary scaling back of its UK range.
The new 5 could be just the car to put Renault back on buyers' radar: a small, utilitarian, clever small car with high design values. We look forward to seeing if they can pull it off.