The reborn Alpine sports car, currently in development as a joint project between Renault and UK outfit Caterham, has reportedly hit a design snag.
According to British mag Autocar, an early look at the new model during a secret Renault customer event was met with a less than glowing response.
The report adds that Renault top brass have since ordered the car’s stylists back to the drawing board, pushing the car’s official unveiling out to 2016 - around a year beyond the car’s scheduled debut.
And while the technology side of the project will be largely unaffected by Renault’s design woes, the delay will likely have an impact on Caterham’s plans.
The Alpine project will see Renault and Caterham unveil their own uniquely styled cars on the same platform, with only Renault’s model wearing the Alpine badge.
But, because Caterham had reportedly signed off on the design of its own version months ago, this delay could mean that Caterham will also have to revisit its design if Renault’s redesign requires changes to the car’s dimensions or fixing points.
Renault has refused to confirm any delay, but Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald is understood to have admitted to Autocar that the project is now behind schedule.
“There are ongoing frustrations on both sides, but we knew there would be challenges from the start,” he said.
“It was never going to be easy: we are a small, agile company and they are a large, corporate firm. That’s causing frustrations for us and, I’m sure, for them.”
If true, this delay will likely also put paid to earlier reports of a concept unveiling at next month's Geneva Motor Show.
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.
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