Renault may exhume Alpine brand from the grave

Renault has recently revealed that it’s developing an all-new sports car and is considering resurrecting a brand that has been dormant for almost 20 years – Alpine.

Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, Renault product manager Beatrice Foucher said that the next-generation Megane and Laguna will be built on a common C/D platform and this same platform will spawn a sports car. “We need conventional cars as well as innovative cars”, Foucher said. “It’s very early, but we will have at least one coupe in the line-up off the new platform.”

Foucher went on to state, “We’re working on an Alpine. It’s a possibility and we’re looking at what an Alpine would be in a RenaultSport line-up.”

It may be time for this once famous car brand to return. For those who are unfamiliar with Alpine- here’s a brief history lesson.

Alpine was originally founded in 1955 by Jean Redele, who used a humble Renault 4CV to build small coupes with a glass fibre body and stiffened chassis. Its first model was the A106, a small coupe based on a 4CV. In the 1960s, Alpine started a closer cooperation with Renault taking part in motorsport events and achieving success.

Alpine’s greatest victory was in the 1973, when an A110 driven by Jean-Claude and Michelle Petit won the Rally Monte Carlo, the first ever FIA World Rally Championship event. Alpine also won that year’s title beating rivals such as Porsche, Ford and Lancia.

Alpine continued through the 1980s and kept with the same formula of placing Renault powertrains in its own chassis and bodywork. But sales began to drop as competition got fiercer. Production of the final Alpine, the A610, finished in 1994 and Renault, which continues to own the name, has let the brand sleep ever since.

Will the Alpine badge make a comeback through the RenaultSport division? Who knows, but we should hear more in the next couple of years.

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