This Clio Gordini is on display in Geneva

This Clio Gordini is on display in Geneva

Renault decided to reintroduce its famous Gordini brand to make Renaultsport technology available to a wider, more fashion conscious audience, according to Beatrice Foucher, head of global product planning.

"We've launched it with Twingo and Clio and we will see if customers like it before making a decision on expanding the Gordini brand to other models," she said, while insiting there was no danger of Gordini diluting the Renaultsport brand. "It will democratise it, not kill it," she added, describing Gordini as a "sexy, fashionable" brand that will appeal more to women than Renaultsport does.

The show also saw the debut of Renault's dual clutch system, developed in partnership with Getrag. The dry clutch system "gives us manual transmission economy with an automatic."

Such systems will become increasingly important as more and more customers want to downsize engines and have the benefits of an auto transmission, Foucher said.

"We can keep downsizing with small cars to help meet CO2 targets, but for larger vehicles and MPVs we will need some form of electric input, a hybridisation, as we go forward."

Foucher predicts that EVs will account for 10% of the European market by 2020 as battery prices decrease and ranges increase, and that by then customers will be quite happy with a range of 150km (about 95miles).

That means 90% of engines will still be internal combustion. "But all those engines will be downsized. All six cylinder engines will be finished by then," she said.