Renault has confirmed that it is going into partnership with Caterham to develop a range of new sports cars to be built at the old Alpine plant in Dieppe under the branding ‘Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham’. Alpine, currently 100 per cent owned by Renault, will go into an equal 50-50 partnership with the Caterham Group and, following an injection of state cash from the French and regional government, develop and build cars in Dieppe.
Alpine factory currently builds outgoing Clio 200
The Alpine factory had been kept alive as a development and production facility for the Renault sport range of hot hatches and associated racing cars. Production of the outgoing Clio 200 was a Dieppe mainstay due to the car’s wider track meaning it wouldn’t fit down the standard Clio line. But with the controversial new model becoming a more mainstream product Dieppe was in danger of redundancy, the new deal throwing a lifeline to the 300-plus workers and securing the engineering know-how based on decades of building hot Renaults for both road and track. What must they be thinking in Hethel, just hours after Kimi Raikkonen took victory in a black and gold Renault-powered ‘Lotus’ F1 car…
Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said the partnership realises a “longstanding ambition”, namely “the creation of a sports car with the Alpine DNA.” Whether that means a production version of the Alpine A110-50 concept or not remains to be seen but Renault COO Carlos Tavares says it will “embody the very essence of Alpine” and “could become a reality within the next three or four years.”
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