Renault's CEO revealed that talks are in motion.
Renault spun-off performance brand, Alpine, may partner with AutoNation to establish a sales network in the USA. Currently, Alpine only produces one model called the A110, but it's available in four guises depending on what kind of driving experience you're looking for.
At Alpine's 2023 F1 car unveiling, brand CEO Laurent Rossi said that Alpine's sales and brand equity have doubled in the two years since it started competing in F1. He also revealed that the brand experienced a 400% increase in traffic to the A110 configurator after Esteban Ocon won the Hungarian Grand Prix. The USA was fourth on the list of countries the traffic came from, despite no Alpine models being sold stateside.
Renault's CEO, Luca de Meo, spoke with Automotive Newsand said that a partnership with AutoNation could go beyond placing cars in dealerships. AutoNation also released its full year 2022 and fourth quarter results a day later, and the company is in good health despite overall declines in the domestic, import, and premium segments. Per the report, AutoNation had $1.8 billion of liquidity, $73 million in cash, and approximately $1.75 billion of credit available.
"It's not easy because we are not present in the US, and we have to start from scratch," said de Meo. F1 may have established the brand in the USA, but it still needs a footprint to service any current and future products.
Alpine now has more freedom than ever under the revamped Renault-Nissan alliance, which means it can finally shop around for partners to help with its EV future. It also showcased a hydrogen-powered hypercar concept in late 2022, hinting that it has ambitions that extend beyond battery-electric vehicles.
Alpine made its plans for the US market clear earlier this year. It wants to build electric rivals for the upcoming Porsche Macan EV and the Cayenne coupe. While the A110R, which produces 300 horsepower and weighs less than a Mazda Miata, is desirable, crossovers and SUVs bring in the money.
That doesn't mean Alpine won't introduce fun cars, however. Last year Alpine proved its lightweight prowess by revealing an electric A110 concept called the E-ternite. Even though EVs are known for being heavy, the E-ternite concept weighs less than an ICE Porsche 718 Cayman.
Alpine is not afraid of partnerships and even teamed with a direct rival in Lotus to make its next-generation models a success. Unfortunately, the brand is intent on going electric, but that makes it a bit easier to find a dealer partner in the USA.
EVs are much easier to service, and more than 20 most commonly replaced items are not found in electric vehicles. We're talking about engine oil, filters, spark plugs, catalytic converters, etc.
While its still early days, we hope a successful deal can be negotiated, as Alpine sports cars are some of the best forbidden fruit we'd love to drive.
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