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Alpine lands Down Under

Strong Renault Megane RS sales led to Alpine’s Australian introduction

Alpine logo12 Oct 2018

STRONG demand for the Renault Megane RS and Australia’s performance-hungry appetite helped the business case to introduce the Alpine brand locally, according to Renault Australian managing director Andrew Moore.
 
Despite initial fears at the A110’s reveal at last year’s Geneva motor show that the Porsche Cayman-baiting sportscar would not make it Down Under, Mr Moore told journalists at Motorclassica this week that several factors helped get the Alpine brand across the line.
 
“It was a big push, but we had two things on our side, one is that we are a very strong Megane RS country – we’re third globally with the previous vehicle behind Germany and France,” he said.
 
“That sportscar heritage that we have, and the knowledge that Australian consumers love their sportscars, helped us push a little bit further.
 
“Also, Regis Fricotte (Alpine cars commercial director), he’s had previous experience in Australia, so there was a bit of a connection there as well that probably gave us a bit of push, and he pushed hard for us to get it to Australia.
 
“Also Japan has a strong Alpine heritage, I can’t explain why but there are a lot of Japanese customers that have a rich understanding of the brand, so there was some demand from Japan as well, which obviously helped Australia a little bit from a right-hand-drive point-of-view.”
 
As previously reported, the Alpine A110 will kick off from $97,000 before on-roads for the Pure grade, $103,500 for the Legende and $106,500 for the Australian Premiere Edition, the latter of which is limited to just 60 units.
 
Mr Moore revealed that 32 examples of the Australian Premiere Edition are already spoken for, with deliveries beginning in October, while the Pure and Legende will arrive early next year.
 
“The boat’s just landed, literally yesterday, there’s 30 on that boat, so we’re hopeful we can get most of those cars to customers this month,” he said.
 
“We have 60 of this car you see here (Australian Launch Edition), we then have access to, at this stage, 100 units for 2019, which will be the Pure and Legende.
 
“We will be able to order either Pure or Legende … different to Europe where every car is customer order.
 
“From order … it’s about four months until arrival.”
 
Built in Dieppe, France in the same facility as the Renault Clio RS, all A110s are powered by a mid-mounted turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine punching out 185kW/320Nm to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
 
Acceleration from zero to 100km/h takes just 4.5 seconds in the welterweight 1094kg coupe, while top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
 
Other features on the A110 include a combined 196 litres of storage capacity in the front and rear boots, double wishbone suspension front and rear, three-mode drive selector and 44:56 weight distribution.
 
When asked about rivals to the reborn French sportscar, Mr Moore suggested the Alpine A110’s limited availability will push it beyond the usual premium brand’s sports models. 
 
“A lot of people have mentioned the Alfa (Romeo) 4C … I think the Alfa brand is a bit more mainstream (compared with Alpine),” he said.
 
“Audi TT is a fantastic car, but it’s probably more of a prestige sportscar than a pure sportscar, so I think we’ll see those buyers come across from BMW M2 (as well).
 
“The Alpine is a unique vehicle, it has racing heritage, which is what Porsche has too.
 
“The Cayman has a bit more appeal to the high-end buyer, which is where Alpine, being low volume, will have the same appeal.
 
“So I think we will see people crossing over from other prestige brands looking for some performance brands that will go ‘this is a real option for me’ and it’s going to be unique.”

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