Renault looking for business case to revive Alpine brand

Article by Anita Panait, on March 20, 2012

Renault mulls reviving its sporty Alpine brand but it is cautious because of the costs related to resurrecting the high performance model line. If revived, the Alpine brand would be a lightweight, high performance sports car that is built with the highest specifications, not just of standard components, according to Renault marketing director Stephen Norman.

 It’s likely that the plan to revive the Alpine brand won’t be acted on for a long time, since Renault could not take on the expense associated with resurrecting the car, even as it gains more partners aside from Nissan, Norman noted. Despite the gloomy outlook for the Alpine brand, Norman is upbeat with the prospects of the company’s other brand.

Renault’s marketing director expressed excitement with its new Twingo, which will be unveiled in 2014. Renault is currently working with Daimler over the new Twingo, which Norman described as closer to the original model but packs a surprise punch.

Norman also announced that its current Clio model will be replaced by Clio IV in September 2012, featuring a new design and engine. Norman also announced the arrival of a sister car to Nissan's Juke sometime in 2013.

Other lineup changes in Renault-Nissan products include: a 2014 replacement for the Megane 5-door hatch, 3-door coupe and estate; a 2014 or 2015 off-road replacement, based on the R Space Concept, for the Kalios; and 2015 debuts for the new Laguna and Espace vehicles.

Meanwhile, Norman said that Renault is scrambling for a new product plan for its Korean affiliate Samsung, which is taking losses. Samsung will be part of the upper range models Renault is planning in Korea.

Made with the popular proficiency of Renault Sport Technologies, the Alpine A110-50 is a motorsport phenomenon. It uses the same platform as that of Mégane Trophy and profits from its experience. Applauded by World Series drivers from Renault, the Alpine A110-50’s tubular chassis has been made more robust and has gone through various improvements.

The bracing and roll cage in the car’s engine bay have been tweaked (somehow made lower) in Tork Engineering’s tinker shop to make it adjustable to the height, which is significantly lower than that of the Mégane Trophy. The design work was made digitally and was spearheaded by Etud Integral, Renault Design, and Koller. The finishing touches were done by Protostyle. The overall weight distribution is good, with almost half of it on the front wheels.

To manage servicing, the innovative car showcases important pneumatic jacks. Directly pulled from the systems used in endurance car racing, they allow the wheels to be removed really fast.

An exemplary vehicle that combines style and efficient aerodynamics

The Alpine A110-50’s efficiency is mostly provided by ground effect. The front has a splitter cloaked in the bumper and it creates a low pressure, which ends up in an aerodynamic downforce that is substantial. The back of the car has a diffuser that accelerates air flow under it. Therefore, ground effect is a major mover of the car’s downforce at 33 percent, with the remaining coming from the rear wing.

The design and study of the air flow for this vehicle were determined by utilizing Computational Fluid Dynamics, a pioneering technology specifically used in F1. CFD incorporates the research of fluid movements or its effects, by digitally quantifying equations that manage the fluid. This method was utilized by Renault Sport Technologies to specifically perfect the aerodynamics and find out the performance of the New Mégane Trophy in air flow function.

Topics: renault, alpine

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