The revered nameplate will be replaced by Alpine Cars.
Although French automaker Renault doesn't have a presence in the North American market, its Sport and RS-badged models are revered around the world. Specifically, there have been numerous sporty Renault hatchbacks through the years that have matched and in some cases surpassed esteemed rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
While these high-performance Renaults aren't going anywhere, they will be rebranded as of this month; Renault Sport Cars will become Alpine Cars. It's been a big year for the brand. Earlier in 2021 it was announced that the brand, founded back in 1955, would team up with Lotus to build a new sports car.
"As part of the reorganization of the Renault Group by brand, it is essential that the various entities that make up the Business Unit bear the Alpine name and embody the values and ambitions of the brand," said Laurent Rossi, Alpine's CEO. Alpine's own portfolio includes the fun A110 coupe that is sadly not sold in North America. However, Alpine is preparing to transition to a fully electric range and this will benefit Renault as it inevitably electrifies its own range of sporty vehicles.
Some of the great Renaults that the new Alpine Cars will look to replicate include the R5 Turbo, Megane RS Trophy, and the manic Clio V6.
The outrageous Renault Sport Spider from the 1990s made our list of one of the cars Americans should import - it was assembled at the Alpine factory. The Megane RS sold overseas is a 300-hp hot hatch that will reach 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, which would have made it a perfect match for the Honda Civic Type R if it were sold here.
"By becoming Alpine Cars, the teams are embarking on a new dynamic, rich in projects carried out with the support of the Alpine Racing teams and all of Renault Group's businesses," said Robert Bonetto, product performance and engineering director for Alpine. "This is an extremely exciting time for our engineers."