Renault CEO Carlos Tavares revealed last week that Renault “hadn’t found a business model [with Mercedes] that works”, but that the French would continue to pursue a luxury tie-up with the Germans.
But in a separate interview with Autocar at the recent Geneva motor show, Tavares said the first steps towards launching the Initiale Paris luxury brand would be taken next year, even if an E-class-based car was no longer being developed as its ‘halo’ model.
Initiale Paris will draw heavily on inspiration from French luxury goods expertise, and will initially be launched as a trim level for existing models. The first will be the Clio in 2014, with the Espace following subsequently. A succession of such models will be launched and, if they are deemed a success, spark the launch of the sub-brand.
“I can say for certain that I am not expecting it to launch soon, and even then it will take a long, long time to establish itself and grow in to a true premium brand,” said Tavares. “That will be a job for at least my successor to worry about, not me.”
Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s head of design, said the first designs for the Clio and Espace were now almost complete. “We need to be patient and persistent, grow the brand and launch it in its own right only when the time is right.”