Renault and Caterham to build new Alpine

Renault Alpine 110-50 concept
5 Nov, 2012 10:12am Tom Phillips

Joint venture will see Renault and Caterham producing two new sports cars

Alpine is back, thanks to a new joint venture between Renault and Caterham Cars. As of January a new company, Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, will begin work on “a range of future sports vehicles”, with the first car due “within the next three to four years”.

Renault and Caterham will share 50:50 ownership of the company, which will be run by former Renaultsport boss Bernard Ollivier from a base at the current Renaultsport – and former Alpine – factory in Dieppe.

Renault and Caterham-badged models will be produced, and will be clean-sheet designs. They will share the same platform and Renault engines, but feature unique bodywork, interiors and suspension set-ups. The cars will be built at the expanded French plant, too, alongside the Renaultsport Clio.

The production model won’t look like the 110-50 concept, but it will be rear-wheel drive and follow Alpine’s mantra of making “nimble, lightweight, high-performance vehicles”.

Speaking at the announcement of the joint venture, Renault boss Carlos Ghosn declined to specify what the new sports car will be. However, it has been confirmed that it will use a bespoke platform. Ghosn added “There’s a name that we want to revive… all I can say is that it will be a very modern, a very competitive Alpine.”

The new cars will be powered by Renault petrol engines, but when asked about the potential of an electric-powered Alpine, Ghosn said: “I refuse to rule anything out.”

Renault boss Carlos Tavares has also confirmed the Alpine model will cost “between 40,000 and 50,000 Euros” (£32,000 and £40,000).

As for the Caterham model, Caterham Cars boss Graham MacDonald said, “Renault and Caterham are aiming for a very similar price point.” However, the Caterham will “stay true to the firm’s DNA”, and be “visually very different” from the Alpine sister model.

When asked about powertrains, Caterham boss Tony Fernandes said: “Renault, they’re more 1.6-litre turbo and we’re more 2.0-litre turbo.”

Caterham plans to use its Formula One team to help speed up the development of the road car, both in terms of working practices and its staff, of which Mike Gascoyne, CEO of Caterham Technologies and former F1 tech boss, is heavily involved.

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Regarding the 21 being "outclassed by the Lotus Elise", I don't think that's quite the story!
Caterham could make more money from selling Sevens and the 21 was hard for them to market once the Elise came on the scene. The Elise owner I gave a lift to at Le Mans (many years ago) didn't seem to be unimpressed.
The motoring press should have supported both cars rather than deciding there should be only one... (I suppose a successful car company in the UK is a bit of an embarrassment).

Renault designers really got their mojo together with the Alpine concept - let's hope they manage as well with the new setup. And of course, good luck to Caterham, too.

What a beauty! If the production car's design will come out close to this beast, I will certainly interested to have one in my garage. Given the fact that Renault produces some of the best hatches, and they have done sor years (R26, Clio RS, Megane RS), I have no doubt that the final car when released will be stunning to drive, and hard to beat in relation to the bucks you'll have to pay.

This is what I call brilliance, being able to produce excellent cars without needing to pay a fortune, which applies to many german cars which are usually overpriced. I own an A5 (TDI quattro) but I have more problems with it than any other cars I have owned, appart from 2 x MB300CE that did cost me a fortune. And I have only driven 45000 miles with that car.

I have owned a 504, a 206 GTI, a 406 coupe, an MB 190E, 2 x 300CE and one Opel.