Renault's Alpine brand expands reach with plusher A110 Légende GT
Paris - Renault's Alpine brand is launching a more luxurious version of its sleek A110 sports car as it looks to branch out from its core French market and consolidate a jump in sales last year, its chief executive said.
The French carmaker revived the Alpine brand and its two-seater models in 2017, with a design inspired by the 1960s and '70s models.
But Renault is struggling with slumping demand in emerging markets and outlined cost cuts in February to try to turn around a decline in operating margins.
Pricier models like the Alpine could help improve the group's profitability and growth in the longer run as the brand goes even more upmarket and plans more launches, Alpine Chief Executive Patrick Marinoff told Reuters.
"If you look at profit potential in the future, Alpine is the tool and the weapon for Groupe Renault to harvest that potential," he said in a telephone interview to replace an event planned for this week's Geneva auto show, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic.
In the short term, Alpine is bracing for stalling growth after the hype of its first launches dies down.
Sales of the vehicle - which is produced in the northern French town of Dieppe and includes a motor from Renault's alliance partner Nissan - doubled to 4835 in 2019.
"Looking at our numbers, we do not expect growth (this year)," said Marinoff, a former executive from high-end German brand Daimler.
"We had a fantastic record year last year. We had a fantastic start, but to expect more growth would be definitely too ambitious, we are looking at consolidation."
Alpine's latest version of the A110, the Légende GT, is a grand tourer designed for long drives, with extra capacity for luggage and storage built in, as well as more luxurious leather seat trim.
Its first production run will be limited to 400 cars.
The A110 Légende GT is powered by a 1.8-litre turbopetrol engine that produces 186kW. According to Alpine, it accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250km/h.
The car comes with an active sports exhaust, uprated Brembo brakes, parking sensors, a reversing camera and Focal stereo, and its combination of features is aimed at giving it exciting driving dynamics as well as effortless everyday usability.
"We intend to broaden the customer base," Marinoff said. "We will focus more on people who are looking for a certain lifestyle, for the refinement that a Grand Tourer can deliver."Reuters