Contrary to a previous report, French automaker Renault will continue its original collaboration with Smart to develop new minicars to replace their respective Twingo and ForTwo models as well as Smart’s discontinued ForFour.

The collaboration stems from an alliance deal signed between Renault-Nissan and Daimler, which owns Smart, three years ago.

Early test mules for both the ForTwo and ForFour have already been spotted.

Speaking with Automotive News (subscription required), Smart managing director Annette Winkler confirmed that a common platform would be shared between Smart and Renault for their future minicars.

In addition to spanning both two- and four-door models, the platform will also be capable of packing gasoline and electric drivetrains.

Importantly, the power source will be mounted in the rear and drive the rear wheels only. While this is a similar configuration to that found in current Smart models, it will be the first time that Renault’s Twingo minicar features rear-wheel drive.

The new models will be launched in 2014, a year later than originally envisaged.

The Smart plant in Hambach, France will be responsible for the two-seater ForTwo, while the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia will be the production location for the four-seater Twingo as well as the second-generation ForFour.

In terms of styling, Smart’s Forvision concept from 2011 is said to point the way.

Note, Renault’s Japanese partner Nissan may also end up launching its own model based on the new platform.

Rival models the new Smart and Renault minicars will target include BMW’s MINI range, the Fiat 500, and the Audi A1 and Opel Adam sold overseas.