The strong presence of Chinese EVs at the revived Geneva auto show showed “they are interested in our market, in our customers,” Renault CEO Luca de Meo told Reuters.

Later, after unveiling Renault’s new electric R5, he insisted Europe’s auto industry was “up for the challenge”.

Reuters said De Meo repeated calls to replicate the success of European airplane maker Airbus by encouraging deeper cooperation between automakers.

Renault itself is in early talks with Volkswagen to share its Twingo electric platform, he told the news agency.

A previous ICE Twingo, with rear mounted engine, was shared with Daimler’s Smart.

De Meo also told Reuters he was pushing for European Union regulation to be more flexible for small cars to help make them more competitive.

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The report noted Tesla did not have a stand in a much diminished show occupying just one hall.

In response to the influx of lower cost Chinese models, legacy automakers like Renault are rushing to develop EVs for EUR25,000 or less, Reuters noted.

The first version of the R5 will launch in the second half of the year with a 52KWh battery with a range of 400km (249 miles) and a price tag of around EUR30,000.

Reuters added Renault had said that first R5 version would be followed “as quickly as possible” by a cheaper version with 40KWh battery and 300km range.