Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Renault, Caterham Join to Revive Alpine Sports-Car Brand

PARIS—Renault SA and British racing-car company Caterham Cars on Monday said they would share the costs of designing, developing and manufacturing a family of sports cars that would be available in about four years.

The joint venture, which will revive Renault’s Alpine brand, is in line with Renault’s strategy of moving more upmarket and relying less on its core models. The move comes as Europe’s mass-market auto makers are struggling to maintain market shares by slashing sticker prices.

The partnership, to be named Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, gives the British Formula One race-car maker access to Renault’s manufacturing clout. The venture potentially could benefit from Renault’s deep-rooted alliance with Japanese partner Nissan Motor in other parts of the world.

Renault’s Dieppe facility, which makes sporty versions of its mass-market vehicles, will build the new range of cars. The partners individually will sell the production under their own brand names. Details on the level of shared investment and planned production volumes weren’t disclosed.

The challenge for both companies could be meshing very different corporate cultures. Caterham Chairman Tony Fernandes also heads Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia Bhd the region’s largest low-fare airline.

From WSJ.Com