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Renault and Caterham revive Alpine

Renault knew it needed a new model for its Alpine plan and says Caterham is the right choice to help it.

The rebirth comes thanks to an unlikely liaison between Renault and Caterham. The two companies are already tied through Formula One and now Renault has tasked Caterham to create its 21st century hero cars for badging under the Alpine brand.

Two sports cars are included in the plan and are expected on the road in late 2014 or early in 2015. There is also expected to be a Caterham version. 

Renault has already tested the potential for an Alpine revival with a great looking two-seater sports car and now it's put the pieces in place to make it a production reality, including construction at the Dieppe factory that already creates its RenaultSport versions of the Megane and Clio.

Caterham is best known as the company that took over production rights of the classic Lotus 7, designed by F1 genuius Colin Chapman, and it has managed to keep the car alive over the years with a long string of technical updates that have not greatly affected the basics of the 1950s chassis and body package.

But Alpine will be different, as Renault has big plans to create cars that can restore the bragging rights that originally came thanks to Monte Carlo Rally victories and success in the Le Mans sports car classic in the 1970s.

A Renault Alpine 110 even won the first running of Australia's Castrol Rally, the most competitive and innovative forest fight of the 1970s, in the hands of national champion Bob Watson. Exact details of the Renault-Caterham liaison and car plan have not been revealed, but Caterham Group is taking a half share in the Automobiles Alpine Renault Company in January.

“This innovative partnership with Caterham embodies a longstanding ambition: the creation of a sports car with the Alpine DNA. It carries both opportunities for the Dieppe plant and the development of its historic know-how," says Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Renault.

Tony Fernandes, chairman of Caterham and founder of the AirAsia group that allowed him to springboard into Formula One, is upbeat about the new plan. "We know the markets we are going into and, particularly in my playground in Asia, there is a huge opportunity to replicate the AirAsia model and give consumers access to exciting, affordable products that marry our interests in F1 and technology and help make their dreams come true," says Fernandes.

Renault knew it needed a new model for its Alpine plan and says Caterham is the right choice to help it. “Our ambitions of reviving Alpine depended on our ability to find a partner in order to ensure the economic profitability of such an adventure," says Carlos Tavares, chief operating office of Renault.

"Right from the start, we wanted to place the Dieppe plant at the heart of the project. Today, through our partnership with Caterham Group, we can enter a new phase:  the design of a vehicle that will embody the very essence of Alpine, a vehicle that will rekindle sporting passion once more. It could become a reality within the next three or four years.”