Renault will turn its Alpine performance brand into a dedicated electric-vehicle brand, the automaker said Thursday.
Like fellow members of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, Renault is in the midst of a major restructuring. The restructuring is being overseen by new CEO Luca de Meo, and part of it will be a reboot of Alpine.
Alpine was revived a few years back with the launch of the A110, a lightweight, mid-engine sports car. It is Alpine's sole offering, and its production numbers less than 5,000 units per year.
Under the new plan, Alpine will leverage platforms from the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, including potentially the new CMF-EV modular platform that debuts later this year in the Nissan Ariya electric SUV. The plan will also see Alpine jointly develop an electric sports car with Lotus, which is also headed down the EV route.
Alpine A110 production in Dieppe, France
The move toward EVs will potentially enable Alpine to attract customers in China where Renault plans to stop selling vehicles equipped with internal-combustion engines. Unfortunately, it isn't likely to help the case for a U.S. launch, so don't expect to see Alpine introduced here anytime soon.
As part of the reboot, Alpine will also focus on motorsport, specifically Formula One though there will also be a presence in the World Endurance Championship, and possibly Formula E at some point. The Renault F1 team has already been rebranded Alpine for the 2021 season, and has signed double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso as a driver.
If all goes to plan, Alpine is expected to be profitable in 2025.
Renault's new CEO could be just the right person for the job. He was previously in charge of Volkswagen Group's Spanish brand, SEAT, where he successfully turned the Cupra performance sub-brand into a standalone brand that plans to offer EVs. Perhaps he'll be able to repeat that success with Alpine.