Renault is planning to develop an all-new sports car, and one of the options examined by its management is looking to its past and, more specifically, a brand that has ceased to exist for close to two decades.
Speaking to journalists at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault product manager Beatrice Foucher said that the next-generation Megane and Laguna, due to be launched in 2013/14, will be based on a common C/D platform. And this platform will surely include a sports car.
“We need conventional cars as well as innovative cars”, Foucher told Autocar magazine. “It’s very early, but we will have at least one coupe in the line-up off the new platform.”
The new model will ditch the Laguna Coupe name, which has not been a success, and adopt a new one. Foucher revealed that work on the new platform begun last year and that RenaultSport is involved in its development from the beginning.
Her next revelation, however, was the most interesting: “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.”
Alpine was founded in1955 by Jean Redele, who used a humble Renault 4CV to build small coupes with a glassfiber body and very stiff 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 with considerable success.
Its greatest achievement 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 following the same recipe of placing Renault powertrains in its own chassis and bodywork, but competition was getting stronger and its sales were dwindling. Production of the last Alpine, the A610, ceased at the end of 1994 and Renault, which owns the name, has let it lay dormant since.
Now it is about to make a comeback. Given its record of accomplishment and the RenaultSport division's experience in creating sport versions, expectations are quite high.