2010 Renault LatitudeEnlarge Photo
Mercedes, as we’ve known for a while now, has formed an alliance with Renault and Nissan, and together the companies are working on several joint models, the first of which are expected to be the replacements for the Renault Twingo and Smart ForTwo due out next year.
Now, according to a report in French newspaper Les Echos, which was picked up by Automotive News Europe (subscription required), Renault is not looking to launch just one high-end model but an entire sub-brand dubbed “Initial Paris” that would be used for a handful of premium models.
The newspaper, citing senior Renault executive Carlos Tavares, said a decision would be made by the end of the year.
Similar to the respective DS line and newly established ‘8’ series of models from French rivals Citroen and Peugeot, the new premium models from Renault would be targeted primarily at the growing number of wealthy customers in markets such as China and India.
To be successful, Renault would need to work with another automaker, like Mercedes-Benz, to help spread the level of investment required to develop the new models. The first of these new models is rumored to be a luxury sedan based on the Mercedes-Benz E Class, which will likely replace Renault’s current flagship, the Latitude sedan.
But the story doesn’t end there; in addition to a new premium brand Renault is also expected to revive its legendary Alpine name for a new performance sub-brand. A striking Alpine Renault concept will be unveiled later today and used to gauge interest for a potential sports car offering from Renault. For its performance models, Renault is more likely to team up with existing partner Nissan or potentially Lotus rather than Mercedes-Benz.
Including Renault’s existing Dacia brand for low-end models, the French automaker would have four separate brands catering to a much wider audience than it currently enjoys. Dacia in the low-end market, Renault for mainstream buyers, Initial Paris for the upper end of the market and Alpine for performance fans.