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Renault Abandons Luxury Ambitions

 
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Early last year, French automaker Renault revealed it was considering launching a new luxury sub-brand to be labeled Initial Paris and feature standalone models using technology borrowed from alliance partner Mercedes-Benz.

One of the first of these new upscale Renaults was to be a sedan based on the platform underpinning the Mercedes-Benz E Class.

The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Renault has backed away from these plans, choosing instead to focus on improving its current range as well as the revival of its Alpine performance brand.

“We haven't found a business model that works,” Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares told the newspaper.

Tavares went on to reveal that the Initial Paris brand will still be developed, but as an upscale trim for Renault’s current range. If it proves successful, Initial Paris could then be spun off into a separate brand with its own models, similar to what rival French automaker Citroën has done with its own DS line.

But such a process could take decades, Tavares acknowledged.

While we won’t be seeing any new luxury cars from Renault anytime soon, the automaker’s Alpine revival will see a new sports car launched in the coming years. It is currently being developed with British F1 team and sports car manufacturer Caterham, which plans its own version of the car.

Part of the Alpine revival also includes a greater focus on motorsport. Renault already supplies engines to top F1 teams, including triple world champions Red Bull Racing, and this year it will field an Alpine-branded prototype race car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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