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Renault predicts world sportscar boom

Top sports: Renault hopes to take advantage of a global boom in premium sportscar sales with its new Alpine range that kicks off in 2017.

Global premium sportscar sales to soar 50 per cent by 2020, says Renault

17 Feb 2016

GLOBAL premium sportscar sales could grow by 50 per cent in just four years, according to Renault.

Announcing the resurrection of its Alpine sports sub-brand after a 21-year hiatus, Renault said the world premium sports coupe and roadster segment currently accounts for 200,000 vehicles a year.

“Forecasts suggest this market has the potential to expand by around 50 per cent by 2020, firstly because it is a supply driven market that is sensitive to change and new arrivals – even in the most mature markets – and secondly because demand is set to increase in the majority of emerging markets,” it says in a press kit supporting the Alpine announcement in Monte Carlo this week..

“For the past 10 years or so, demand has led each marque to a more and more precise market position.”

As Renault indicates, a raft of new sportscars are in various stages of development by a who’s who of manufacturers, including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Fiat and General Motors.

Many of those cars will be targeted at the new middle class car buyers of China and other developing markets where sportscars are a novelty.

So far, Asia accounts for just 15 per cent of global premium sports coupe and convertible sales, Renault says.

The biggest market is North America, which takes about 40 per cent of all high-end sportscar volume, while Europe gets 35 per cent.

In Europe, the dominant markets are Germany and the United Kingdom, each with about 30 per cent of the European tally.

Clearly, the Renault definition of premium sportscar does not include American muscle cars – Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger – as those three managed combined sales of more than 260,000 in the United States alone in 2015.

It most likely includes the Porsche 911 which achieved 32,000 sales for the year, making it one of the bigger players in the segment.

Models coming on stream include the new-generation Honda NSX, Lexus LC500, Mercedes-Benz SLC and C-Class Cabriolet, Aston Martin DB11, Infiniti Q60 and dozens of others.

Despite punitive import tariffs in China, most western manufacturers are planning to ramp up sales of premium vehicles in the world's biggest motor market where – despite slowing sales growth – demand remains compelling.

Renault is one of the smaller players in China, but appears committed to launch Alpine there. It also is aiming to use the Alpine sub-brand to gain a foothold in North America where it has little or no presence to date.

Alpine’s first new-generation sportscar – a lightweight two-door mid-engined coupe based on its Vision concept car – will be revealed in its production guise before the end of this year and launched in the first half of 2017 in Europe.

Other models, including an SUV, are expected to follow. Australian sales are yet to be confirmed, but expect Renault Australia to confirm local distribution before the year is out.

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