RENNES, France -- Renault may unveil its first modern Alpine sports car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race next month, a report said. The concept would preview a production car that would rival models such as the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster.
Renault is reviving the Alpine brand 20 years after it was axed to create an image booster as it seeks to move upscale in Europe to improve profitability.
The automaker could unveil an Alpine concept at Le Mans on June 13 and 14 after CEO Carlos Ghosn approved a 600 million euros investment in the brand, according to French magazine Challenges.
The concept previews a sports car with an output of up to 250 hp that would be priced between 30,000 euros and 35,000 euros, the magazine said. The price would be just below the cost of an Audi TT and much less than the Porsche Boxster.
The sports car could be followed by an Alpine-badged SUV, the report said.
Renault declined to comment on the report.
Bernard Ollivier, head of Alpine, told Reuters in January that the automaker will launch Alpine production at the end of next year and sell the sports car in Europe and key emerging markets in 2017. The car will have a rear-mounted engine and production will be about 3,000 units a year with a peak of 5,000. It will be built at Renault's factory in Dieppe, northern France, he said.
The Alpine car will have a lightweight design with technologies from Renault's alliance partners, Nissan and Daimler, a source directly involved in the model’s development told Automotive News Europe.
Some observers had questioned whether the Alpine project would survive after its main backer, former Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares moved to rival PSA/Peugeot-Citroen as CEO. The project also suffered a setback when Renault last year ended a partnership to develop Alpine with UK specialist sports-car maker Caterham over financing issues.
Renault unveiled an Alpine concept, the A110-50 concept car on the sidelines of the 2012 Monaco Formula One race. The car was powered by a 400-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine mounted in a mid-rear position.
Alpine was founded in the 1950s and became well-known among sports-car enthusiasts for the A110 and Berlinette, which was introduced in 1962. Renault halted Alpine production in 1995 because of poor profitability. Sales peaked at about 2,000 cars a year in the 1980s.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report