The "Twingo" name is a portmanteau derived from the words "Twist", "Swing" and "Tango".
The Twingo was designed under Patrick le Quément, Renault's chief designer. Le Quément's belief was that it was a greater risk for Renault to take no risks at all, having seen its market share suffer from cars such as the Renault 9 and 11. The design of the Twingo resembles that of the 1982 Polish prototype Beskid (car), from which its monobox silhouette is claimed to be derived.
The Twingo has been built since its launch in France in 1992 and in Colombia and Uruguay from 1999 to 2002, undergoing three intermediate restylings in 1998, 2000 and 2004.
Production of the first generation model ceased at the Flins factory in France on 28th June 2007. It is, however, still produced in Colombia by the Sofasa conglomerate for the South American market. Total production up to 30th June 2007 was 2,478,648. There were no right-hand drive first-generation Twingos built, and it was not sold in most RHD markets.