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Renault To Partner With Caterham On Alpine Revival, Not Lotus: Report

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Despite previous claims Renault-Nissan was in talks with Lotus to develop a sports car to spearhead the revival of the Renault Alpine performance marque, a new model thought to also spawn a production version of the Emerg-E concept car for Infiniti, it now appears fellow British performance brand Caterham could be the one Renault-Nissan execs turn to.

The information was first reported by Sky News, which claims the boss of Caterham, Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, is close to signing a deal with Renault-Nissan for the development and production of the new sports car. The deal is estimated to be valued at close to $400 million.

Under the alleged deal, a 50-50 joint venture would be formed and unique versions of the sports car would be sold under the Caterham and Renault Alpine names. There was no mention if Infiniti would get its own version.

Renault-Nissan will reportedly present the deal to its union council this week before making it public in the coming month. The information also ties in with previous comments made by Renault boss Carlos Tavares, who said Renault was in talks with another firm over a joint venture to build a production version of the striking Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept, and in the process revive the Alpine brand.

Caterham, which competes in Formula 1 and is best known for its Lotus 7-style track day cars, had also been reported recently to be planning a new sports car. Renault actually supplies Caterham with engines for its F1 cars, and it's believed this partnership is what led to talks about sports car development.

It was originally thought that Caterham’s main rival, Lotus, would have been selected by Renault-Nissan, as Lotus and Infiniti are both working with the UK’s Technology Strategy Board to further the development of eco-friendly technology, and the platform underpinning the Evora sports car was in fact used for the Infiniti Emerg-E concept car.

So far none of the firms reportedly involved have agreed to comment. 

Stay tuned for an update.
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