Does the world need another £50,000 sports car? Or, indeed, one that harks back to a brand and an era both long forgotten by all but the most hardy aficionados?
Renault has obviously concluded it does, although the slow and wayward rebirth of the Alpine brand has given it enough headaches to suggest it may have questioned the wisdom of its original decision many times.
The rebirth of Alpine was the brainchild of the company’s now departed boss, Carlos Tavares, who left Renault for Peugeot in a hurry after a public falling out with overall boss, Carlos Ghosn. It is intended to hook in to a strong home passion for the Alpine brand and the wider world’s increasingly strong love affair with cars that have an authentic link to history, as well as teasing an opening in to the potentially lucrative premium market for the Renault Group.
Of course, the production car was only given the go-ahead because of a tie-in with Caterham that has since dissolved. Even Tavares admitted that co-developing the car was the only way the project had any hope of breaking even. With that lifeline now gone midway through the development cycle, many extra costs must have been incurred. Little wonder, then, that Ghosn’s subsequent pronouncements on Alpine have failed to project any enthusiasm.
However, as we edge closer to the car’s launch in production form, perhaps we should just be grateful for Renault and Alpine’s joint perseverance.
True, the world may not need another £50,000 sports car but that doesn’t stop it wanting one, especially one developed by a company with the experience and performance know-how of Renaultsport and its associated cohorts.