Renault buys Caterham stake in Alpine sports brand, new model due in 2016
Renault has announced this week that it has bought the 50 percent share in Alpine previously held by British outfit Caterham.
Formed as Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham in 2012 to reintroduce the Alpine brand and build on interest established with Renault’s A110-50 concept, the partnership had struggled to move forward.
Details of the split have not been revealed, although a report in February claimed that Caterham boss Graham MacDonald had confirmed “frustrations on both sides”, borne out of disagreement over the new sports car’s direction.
It was reported again in April that the partnership had ended, although neither brand had made an official statement.
The project appears to be back on track however, with confirmation this week that the newly renamed Société des Automobiles Alpine will continue under Renault exclusively.
The company has also confirmed that the first Alpine model is still on track for a 2016 debut as planned.
Renault says that Alpine’s Dieppe plant, home of the legendary brand founded in 1955, is already being prepared to build and assemble the chassis and bodywork of the new model.
“With 90 percent of design specifications complete and an interior design to be finalised before the summer, enthusiasm is growing around the future Alpine production vehicle,” Alpine chief Bernard Ollivier said in a statement.
The new sports car is expected to go up against the likes of Alfa Romeo's 4C and the Porsche Cayman, but with a price range reported to be around €35,000 to €40,000 in Europe, it will be markedly more affordable than both.
An Australian debut for the Alpine brand is still to be confirmed.
Caterham will continue to develop its own new sports car based both on work completed with Renault and, going forward, through its own direction.
Both cars are expected to launch at the same time, with the Alpine reported offering around 210kW and the Caterham delivering closer to 225kW. Both models will reportedly weigh around 1100kg.