By on June 19, 2012

When Renault had rolled out its Alpine A110-50 a few weeks ago, the logical conclusion was that this was not just to celebrate the 50th birthday of Alpine. Today, Renault COO Carlos Tavares tells Bloomberg that Renault is thinking about bringing back Alpine as a brand for sports cars, and to create another high-end brand for luxury models in a bid to become a true global carmaker.

Renault can use a boost. Its five-month European deliveries dropped 19.7 percent in the EU, while the market dropped 7.7 percent. Cross-town rival PSA lost 15 percent in the period. Both French brands are disproportionately exposed to the cratering southern parts of Europe, both are much less equipped to make it up with exports as the Germans do. Says Tavares:

“We may have one day a luxury brand. That would help from a profitability standpoint because everybody’s always looking at VW and what Audi represents for the VW group.”

As for Alpine, Renault is talking to potential partners to help revive the brand and share in the development costs, Tavares said. Renault has an alliance with Nissan, and a smaller one with Daimler.

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22 Comments on “Renault Wants Two New Brands To Take On Volkswagen Globally...”


  • avatar
    ott

    Oh, that SOUND!!! YeeeeeeeHAW!!!! I think the Stig just soiled himself…

  • avatar
    mike978

    Since Nissan and Renault have an alliance and mutual shareholdings does Renault already have a luxury brand – Infiniti? It is very expensive and takes a long time to establish a luxury brand. It doesn`t always work (ask Maybach!)

    • 0 avatar
      Botswana

      Your point is solid but not sure Maybach is the best example.

      I never could see how Maybach justified their ridiculously high cost. If I could afford a $500k car I wouldn’t look twice at a Maybach.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      “Since Nissan and Renault have an alliance and mutual shareholdings does Renault already have a luxury brand – Infiniti?”

      No they do not.

      One of the basic tenets of the Renault-Nissan Alliance is that both companies maintain separate brands and separate corporate cultures. Therefore, Renault cannot use Infiniti as one of their brands as it belongs to Nissan.

      Renault and Nissan will share, platforms, engines, parts and even dealerships, but never brands.

      It’s one of the myths of the Renault-Nissan alliance. Another myth which NEVER dies is “Renault merged with Nissan”. They didn’t and, as long as Carlos Ghosn is around, will never happen. Mr Ghosn doesn’t like mergers as it destroys values and brands. I happen to agree…

      Back to the topic, Renault do need a luxury brand in order to compete globally. Just one slight problem. Renault also have an alliance with Daimler. Will Daimler feel OK supplying not just one luxury competitor (Infiniti), but two….?

      Having said that, I don’t trust Renault cars in terms of reliability. How annoyed would customers be to buy a luxury car from them with that kind of reliability…?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I know they are not merged. I stated that they had an alliance, with substantial cross shareholdings (Renault has 44% of Nissan). they also have the same CEO. As from their wikipedia page : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault-Nissan_Alliance

        As others have commented Renault has trouble selling a full range of “mainstream” cars so having their own luxury brand is an expensive distraction. The point about Infiniti is that at least the alliance does have some exposure to the luxury market. Something that Ford group misses out on for example.

        As for the Maybach comment – that was just the most recent example of a company establishing (or re-establishing) a luxury brand (albeit in that case very high end) and not succeeding.

      • 0 avatar

        “One of the basic tenets of the Renault-Nissan Alliance is that both companies maintain separate brands and separate corporate cultures. ”

        Boy, that sounds a lot like the divisional structure of (dare I say it?) GM back before Roger Smith. That’s one reason why those who called for an anti-trust breakup of GM back when they had 60% of the US market weren’t dismissed out of hand. Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac were each run as separate companies. There were redundancies and duplications, but there was also autonomy. GM was most profitable, had the largest market share, and made vital cars that excited consumers under that system.

      • 0 avatar
        minneapolis_lakers

        Exactly.

        Furthermore, because Nissan is so much larger than Renault ( in terms of Revenue, Market capitalization, profits), a merger between the two means that the former will absorb the later — the combined entity will have its global HQ in Yokohama and listed in Tokyo — something unfathomable to the Élysée.

        The fact of the matter is, Renault needs Nissan, but not vice versa. The status quo works now because of Carlos Ghosn. After he retires, who knows what will happen to this “alliance”?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    So THAT’S where the tooling for the Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice went!

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    That’s just silly. Renault is a sclerotic, inefficient Euro-remnant with limited scope of sales- they can’t evens make a go of it as a quasi full line manufacturer in the UK. They’ve just ha to pull back multiple models from the UK due to lack of sales. Renault should focus on minimizing costs until they can close enough of their Euro overcapacity to become somewhat viable. Meanwhile figure more ways to pipeline Renault product through Nissan. Renault may have save Nissan at one point, but it is clear now that Nissan is the engine driving that company.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Wasn’t there an article a month or two ago about how well off Renault was due to their expansion in markets with their lower priced Dacia brand? An upscale Renault brand would seem a little too ‘me too’ for a market that’s already pretty small unless they plan to expand in the US or China where buyers are willing to spend big money on something other than a Mercedes.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Renault have been pretty successful with the Dacia brand especially with that “cash for clunkers” crap… that should work in the BRICs

    Alpine should work as a sporty brand however they will want to trade on their Renault F1 abilities and I don’t know if “Renault Alpine F1″ works to tie it up.

    Problem as I see it is that Renault isn’t a force in the Western world… so a luxury Renault doesnt sit well with people… saying that, “Infiniti” as a brand doesn’t work that well outside of the US either…

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    Well, it would be nice to be able to buy a Gallic luxury car in the States again, few understand smooth ride quality and comfortable seats as well as the French, however the wisdom of launching a new luxury brand in the middle of a recession is questionable at best. But, its not going to last forever and I guess there are worse things than optimism.

    Would be nice if they resurrecting one of the many famous French luxury marques that died out in the years after WWII. I believe the Delage, Delahaye, and Hotchkiss trademarkes are all owned by Thales now, while Avions Voisin is now part of Safran, and I think Facel Vega wound up with EADS. Its not like any of those companies are still actively using those names or are in any way active in the auto industry, maybe one could be picked up fairly cheap.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Hey Csrlos…I heard Vauxhall/Opel is available for cheap. I suppose you probably wouldn’t want that basketcase though lol

  • avatar

    Alpine GT-R?
    Do it!! ;-)

  • avatar
    djn

    The new Alpine should be rear-engined.

  • avatar
    minneapolis_lakers

    The same can be said about France – it’s an uncompetitive PIIGS type economy with delusions of being a major economic power.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This would be like Mitsubishi starting luxury + sports car brands. Who’s gonna put that money up when your basics are on the rocks?

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    If they have a team in F1 formula it would be nice … they should … have “really-sports-car” …
    They produce the hottest of the hot-hatches : CLIO RS and Megane RS (FWD – only 265 BHP – but this thing is faster on track than Nismo 370Z (fifth gear test) … so this Alpine car’ll be a fast beast ! …

    But in luxury segment .. ?!? … Citroen tried with it’s elegant C6 model , but failed (right now they have “wannabe luxury” DS series)… But Renault would need to start from 0-level ( even if they would use Infiniti help…)

  • avatar
    mjz

    I always thought that Renault should have bought SAAB to use as their upscale European division. Both brands have a similar quirky sensibility. It would have been easier to upgrade the established SAAB image and dealer network then to start from scratch with a clean sheet of paper. They could have SAABized the various Infiniti models for the SAAB line-up. Oh well, too late now.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Interesting concept for Renault to take over SAAB (.. I allways thought that the best solution for SAAB would be BMW (serious company with good technoilogy, and SAAB would be a little bit cheaper, rebuild BMW’s…but germans has allways have problem with “quirky factor”:) [yeah .. VW Beatle was oryginaly chech car called Tatra ) …
    For the first glance Renault and SAAB don’t suit … but there’s that “quirky-connection/association” …


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