Back in June, Renault announced that it bought Caterham’s stake in Alpine and will continue to launch on its own the new sports cars. In September, the company revealed the fact that it the design of the new sports car is almost finished. In a recent interview at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Renault chief Carlos Ghosn said that the project is continuing as planned, although it would have been better to split the investment with a partner.
This means that the relaunch of Alpine brand is on track for 2016. Still, there is some bad news! If you liked the A110-50 Concept unveiled by Renault in 2012 you should forget about it as the new sports car will not look like that vehicle.
Laurens van den Acker said that the new vehicle will be a modern reinterpretation of the classic Alpine A110 Berlinette, which was launched in the 1960s.
Regarding its partner, Caterham, Renault said that it brought a lot of experience to the team, especially when it comes to rapid prototyping and setting up a sports car.
Months ago, Renault said still plans to revive its Alpine brand even after terminating a partnership with the British specialist sports car maker. Renault and Caterham disclosed in November 2012 a 50-50 agreement to design, develop and build sports cars. At the time, the carmakers said they planned to roll out the first vehicles by 2016.
Despite the unwinding of the joint venture with Caterham, Renault will pursue solo development of a roadster as it bids to revive its own Alpine brand. Renault and Caterham had intended to use their Formula One renown to build a following for affordable performance cars in Europe and Asia.
Tony Fernandes, a tycoon who acquired Caterham in 2011 and controls the Formula 1 team of the same name, had promised more Renault-built models to transform the British company into a global premium player. The Caterham F1 team, however, finished last in the 2013 season and has scored no points since it entering three years prior. This prompted Fernandes to warn that he might walk away unless things turn better.
According to a person privy with the matter, Ghosn had expressed concerns on Caterham's future financial contributions to the joint venture during an internal meeting late 2013. The venture was reportedly being terminated due to differing views on vehicle development. Renault has already sold its own F1 team in 2010, but remains an engine supplier Caterham, Red Bull, Lotus and Toro Rosso.