A Renault Group premium brand under the Initiale Paris name could take 25 years to become a commercial success, chief operating officer Carlos Tavares has admitted.
The move, which was first rumoured earlier this year and would follow the lead of Nissan with its Infiniti offshoot, would not only complement the firm’s existing brands, Renault and Dacia, but also the potential launch of another new sports car marque with Alpine.
“We have already used the Initiale Paris name for high-end special editions and for a concept car,” said Tavares. “But if we are to launch it as a brand then we must try something more specific.
We must capture buyers who want to buy for the sake of design or attractiveness.”
Tavares is believed to be considering using Renault’s collaboration with Mercedes — which has already led to several joint ventures — to leverage use of the next-generation E-class platform. The first car to be built off the platform is scheduled to be the new C-class in 2013, suggesting a Renault offshoot wouldn’t arrive until at least 2015.
Even then, Tavares does not believe that any new premium brand can expect to achieve quick success. “It took 25 years for Infiniti to reach a point where it could fund its own products, and 30 years for Audi to be a success,” he said.
However he insisted that Renault was big enough to sustain four brands.
“It is clear that the space could be there in the market for an upmarket brand, and that the Renault Group has space for such approaches,” he said.
“Dacia fulfils the role of being a smart purchase, Renault offers a core attractiveness and must always aim at making a potential Volkswagen buyer hesitate and consider it instead, while Alpine could put us in the sports car market if we go ahead with it.”