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Frankfurt show: Alpine looks to China, the US

Worldly: French sportscar company Alpine might head to the United States with a bit of help from Renault’s partners Nissan and Infiniti.

Renault’s Alpine plans three-model range as reborn sports brand reveals world tilt

Renault logo16 Sep 2015

By RON HAMMERTON in FRANKFURT

RENAULT Group is considering a proposal for its Alpine premium sportscar brand to go global with a range of up to three vehicles.

The world’s two biggest markets, the United States and China, are included in the draft plan that will be put to the board for a decision in early 2016.

The scheme was revealed by Renault executive vice-president Jerome Stoll in an interview with Australian journalists at the Frankfurt motor show today.

Mr Stoll said the plan was laid out “on paper” for consideration by management.

Alpine is in the final throes of developing its first Alpine model in 20 years, a lightweight sportscar with design inspiration drawn from the classic Alpine A110.

The final, unnamed production car is said to be closely based on the Alpine Celebration concept that has been doing the rounds of various events in France since June.

The success or otherwise of this coupe in the showrooms will determine whether the other Alpine models go ahead.

Fully owned by Renault Group, Alpine is a 60-year-old French sportscar-maker and racing outfit that last produced Alpine-branded roads cars in 1995.

Mr Stoll said that although Renault did not have a presence under its own banner in the United States, it could look to partners Nissan and Infiniti and their dealer networks to establish Alpine there.

“As you know we are not alone in the US,” he said. “We may use our friends.”

The first Alpine sportscar is expected to be launched in Europe and the UK in early 2017, with Australia following shortly after.

Other markets are expected to include Japan, Russia and North Africa.

Mr Stoll also revealed a hybrid powertrain was possible for one of the three Alpine models that – should it go ahead – would be built on a platform shared with Nissan.

This might be the crossover Nissan Gripz that was revealed this week at the Frankfurt show and rumoured to preview the replacement for the Nissan 370Z.

But Mr Stoll said the yet-to-be-released hybrid powertrain might not eventuate, as other solutions to achieve fuel efficiency goals might be sufficient unless emissions regulations change.

Renault and Nissan are also in talks about ways to beef up their high-performance powertrain resources.

Mr Stoll said Renault was under pressure to broaden its Renault Sport range from the current two – Megane RS and Clio RS – while at the same time raising engine power.

He said Nissan’s Nismo also had further high-performance car ambitions that could benefit from such co-operation.

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