Renault plans to compete with FerrariOctober 19, 2020
Italian-born Renault CEO Luca de Meo has an incredibly ambitious plan: to create a sports car brand that rivals the legendary Ferrari brand.
Alpine, the 65-year-old French brand that Renault revived just a few years ago after two decades of inactivity, is far from “striking fear in the hearts” of de Meo’s associates. Renault sold just over 1,000 A110 sports cars this year, the only model in the brand’s lineup. But while the top executive wants to cut Renault’s lineup, he believes Alpine is ripe for expansion.
De Meo, 53, told reporters last week that if he combines the cutting edge engineering of Renault’s sports team with the “quasi-handicraft” work done at Alpine’s northern France plant, “you could get a mini Ferrari.”
Renault CEO Jean-Dominique Senard has named the Dieppe plant, which produces Alpine-branded models, as the most problematic asset of the overcapacity automaker in Europe. Senard told French lawmakers in June that it was not economically viable to build seven cars a day in a facility capable of producing 32 cars.
De Meo gave a few hints about where the brand will go next, saying last week that it would “add emotion” to Renault’s EV lineup. In a memo to staff last month, he urged Alpine to launch a “Porsche 911 program” and create a small series of viable electric vehicles. De Meo said that for all the high-end brands with which he compared Renault’s sports car brand, the company will be modest about its plans.
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