Renault will revive Alpine brand alone after ending Caterham tie-up, reports say

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, left, and Caterham Chairman Tony Fernandes shake hands over an Alpine vehicle after their 2012 announcement of a joint venture to develop sports cars.
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PARIS -- Renault will revive its Alpine brand on its own after ending a partnership with UK specialist sports car maker Caterham, reports said.

Renault and Caterham announced in November 2012 a 50-50 arrangement to design, develop and build sports cars. At the time, the companies said they planned to roll out the first vehicles by 2016.

The French automaker will brief unions on Wednesday about the unwinding of joint venture with Caterham but will continue solo development of a roadster to revive its own Alpine brand, a Reuters source said.

Renault and Caterham had planned to use their Formula One renown to build a following for affordable performance cars in Europe and Asia.

Tony Fernandes, the AirAsia founder who acquired Caterham in 2011 and controls the F1 team of the same name, had promised additional Renault-built models to turn the British kit carmaker into a global premium player. But the Caterham F1 team finished last in 2013 and has scored no points since it entered the sport as Lotus Racing three years earlier - prompting a January warning from Fernandes that he may walk away unless things improve.

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn also raised doubts about Caterham's future financial contributions to the joint venture during an internal meeting late last year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

British online media site Autocar reported over the weekend that the venture was ending due to differing views on the development of the vehicles.

Renault completed the sale of its own F1 team in 2010 but still supplies engines to Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham.

Renault wants to replicate the 1970s success of Alpine sports cars and plans to build models for the brand at its plant in Dieppe, France.

Renault declined to comment on the termination of the deal. Caterham officials were not immediately available for comment.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report

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