Renault's Italian-born CEO, Luca de Meo, has an impossible-sounding ambition: to build a sports-car brand barely brought back to life into a Ferrari fighter.
Alpine, the 65-year-old French marque that Renault revived only a few years ago after two decades of dormancy, is a long way from striking fear into the hearts of de Meo's peers. Renault has sold barely more than a thousand A110 sports cars -- the brand's only current model line -- this year.
But while the veteran auto executive has said he thinks 30 percent of Renault's product range belongs in the scrapheap, he sees Alpine as ripe for expansion.
One of the first big moves made since he took over as CEO was to re-brand Renault's Formula One team as Alpine starting with the 2021 season.
De Meo, 53, claimed to reporters last week that if he combines the cutting-edge engineering work Renault's motorsports program does with the "quasi-artisanal" work conducted at the company's Alpine factory in northern France, "you could get a mini Ferrari."