Automotive News Europe
October 14, 2016 06:01 CET
PARIS -- Renault will unveil the production version of its Alpine Vision sports car concept before the end of the year.
Renault hopes for a halo effect across its lineup by reviving its Alpine nameplate that was popular in the 1960s.
The automaker will launch sales of an Alpine-badged two-seat, mid-engine sports car next year to compete with the likes of the Lotus Elise and Alfa Romeo 4C.
The car will be sharp and agile but more "usable as a daily car" compared with some rivals in the segment, Alpine boss Michael van der Sande told Automotive News Europe at the sidelines of the Paris auto show.
The production model is expected to closely follow the Alpine Vision concept unveiled in February. The concept's styling was inspired by the 1964 Alpine A110 coupe.
Renault is said to be considering creating a family of Alpine cars that could include hybrid cars and SUVs.
Van der Sande, a Dutchman and former Aston Martin and Tesla executive, said that any decision to build more Alpine models will depend on the success of the sports car. He acknowledged that such a niche car was never going to sell in "the millions."
"We measure success by how it is seen and whether we meet and exceed our sales objectives," Van der Sande said. "Ultimately it's about the public reaction to the car."
He didn't give sales targets for the car, but last year Alpine's previous head, Bernard Ollivier, told Reuters he envisaged production volume at around 3,000 a year with 5,000 in the first full year.
Van der Sande said the production Alpine Vision will be unveiled at a standalone event, not during an auto show. "We will do something relevant to Alpine. We have so much history and future to talk about that we didn't want to do it at a show," he said. This month's Paris auto show was "too early and too busy" to be a suitable venue for the launch, he said.
Reports in the French media say the car will be priced just above 50,000 euros ($56,000) and be powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making around 300hp.
Alpine used Renault engines and underpinnings when it was founded in 1954 by a garage owner in Dieppe. Renault brought the brand in 1973, the year Alpine won the World Rally Championship. By then, models such as the A110 had a sizeable following in Europe as well as overseas markets such as Brazil.
The new Alpine subbrand will be global, Renault's motor sports chief, Jerome Stoll, told Automotive News Europe earlier this year.
Bloomberg contributed to this report