PARIS -- The U.S. market will be crucial to Alpine’s ambitious revenue and sales goals, CEO Laurent Rossi said.
The Renault sports car brand has aspirations to sell two models in the U.S., a midsize full-electric SUV and a larger, similar model, starting in 2027 or 2028. “The U.S. is the main destination for these cars,” he said on a call with journalists on Wednesday.
Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo has set a target of 8 billion euros in revenue for Alpine by 2030, which Rossi said equaled annual sales of “north of 150,000” by then. The brand, which was restarted under former Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2017 after lying dormant since the mid-1990s, now sells just one model, the A110 sports coupe, which registered 3,546 sales in 2022, an increase of 33 percent.
The A110 is built in Renault’s small factory in Dieppe, northern France. The plant, with just 400 workers, has a capacity of 6,000 units a year.
But de Meo has big plans for the brand, which he says has unrealized potential in the premium segments. He has already renamed Renault’s Formula One team as Alpine, which he says gives it exposure to tens of millions of fans – and potential customers -- around the world.
Alpine is gradually increasing its number of dealerships, adding 40 sales points in 2022 for a total of 140.
Future Alpine models will be electric. The first to be launched will be the Renault 5 Alpine, a “hot hatch” version of the coming Renault 5 small EV, in the second half of 2024. It will be followed in 2025 by a sporty compact SUV, tentatively called the GT, which will have a “bespoke” design and will use a highly modified Renault-Nissan platform, likely CMF-EV.
Alpine’s compact SUV will have performance enhancements including torque vectoring, more powerful electric motors and different battery chemistry from mainstream Renault Group models.
Those two models are expected to increase Alpine sales tenfold by 2025, or to about 35,000 units annually, Rossi told journalists on Wednesday.
An electric A110 successor is due by the start of 2027. It will be developed in collaboration with Lotus, part of China’s Geely group, which has several joint venture agreements with Renault.
Those three models are not scheduled to be sold in the U.S.
The two larger Alpine models, which Rossi said could be seen as roughly equivalent to the Porsche Macan and Cayenne Coupe in positioning, are being designed with the European and U.S. markets in mind, Rossi said.
“We want to go to the U.S., which will create the bulk of the extra volume above and beyond the hot hatch and sporty car we are launching in 2025, and the successor to the A110,” he said.
Renault Group models for the U.S. market were last sold in the early 1990s, although it had a large presence in the 1980s after acquiring a controlling interest in American Motors in 1979. Renault divested its AMC stake in 1987.
Alpine has not announced which platform the two larger cars will be based on, or where they will be built. He said the brand was first looking within the Alliance, specifically to Nissan, which has both deep exposure to the U.S. market and also builds midsize and large cars, which Renault does not. Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti could be potential source of components, although Rossi said that Alpine models would be more “dynamic” and performance-focused.
At the same time, Alpine is also considering Geely underpinnings, with several brands associated with the company such as Volvo, Polestar and Zeekr offering larger premium models.
Rossi also said Alpine was not ruling out collaborations with other automakers or suppliers.
“It’s quite early days, because we are talking about cars that will be released around 2027 or 2028, so we can really take our time in exploring the best solutions and best collaborations,” he added.
Alpine was started in the mid-1950s in Dieppe by Jean Redele, a French tuner of Renault sedans. He began building his own sports and racing cars several years later, including the original rear-engine A110, known for its rally successes. Renault took control of Alpine in the early 1970s, and helped it to win Le Mans, but by the mid-1990s production of the final model, the A610, had ceased.