LUCA CIFERRI

Why reborn Alpine is skipping the Geneva show

The Alpine Vision (right) is a modern reinterpretation of the iconic A110 (left).
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Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe
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Renault will not exhibit its Alpine Vision concept at the Geneva auto show and the automaker is holding back a lot of information on its revived sporty brand.

The Alpine Vision is a very nicely done modern reinterpretation of the iconic Alpine A110 of which 7,579 were built from 1961 to 1977.

During a glitzy media event in Monaco earlier this month to unveil the concept, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn and his executives were coy about the production Alpine Vision planned to launch early next year.

Technical specs? None. Except the car will accelerate quickly, from 0 to 100 kph in less than 4.5 seconds.

The price? It will be lower than the 80,000 euros that the A110 would cost at today’s prices, Ghosn said.

Weight? It will be light but Renault cannot match the A110’s 600kg weight.

Why isn’t Renault using the Geneva show to garner more publicity and media coverage for Alpine?

Veteran Renault executive Jerome Stoll, who now heads all the automaker’s sports activities including Alpine, Formula One and the battery-powered FormulaE, said the show is not the right setting.

Alpine customers are a community of enthusiasts, who want to be part of a small club, Stoll told me. Potential buyers expect to see such an Alpine model in specific, dedicated environments where they can test the car, spend the weekend with it, and share their experiences with other owners.

Renault is not disclosing its production forecasts for Alpine. In January 2015, a Renault executive was quoted as saying that average annual production would be 3,000 units a year with an initial peak of 5,000 units. Forecaster IHS Automotive predicts that Alpine will peak at about 1,300 deliveries in 2018.

Both figures will be much higher than the last Alpine model built, the A610, which was discontinued in 1995. When I drove an A610 in the outskirts of Paris back in 1993 for Automotive News Europe's sister publication AutoWeek, I did not know that I was at the wheel of an instant classic, as just 818 units of the model were built.

In total Renault built about 30,000 Alpine cars from 1955 to 1995.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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