The Renault Initiale Paris concept car from 1995 (pictured) became the company's Vel Satis flagship model that sold from 2002 to 2009 – although the Vel Satis did without the concept's detuned Formula One engine, a 392-horsepower, 3.5-liter Renault Sport RS6 V10, which might be why it never sold as well as desired. Renault has held on to the Initiale Paris name, though, using to denote the top trim on cars like the Laguna, Espace, Clio and even the dinky Modus supermini.
Renault doesn't have a bona fide flagship anymore, and but it has bigger plans for a replacement that just slotting a new model in. Automotive News reports that the French firm wants to expand its use of Initiale Paris, starting with an Initiale Paris line within the Renault range sporting added features and more luxury, eventually becoming its own luxury line just as Nissan has with Infiniti. It's not a short-term plan, however, with Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares pointing to the 25 years that it has taken Infiniti to reach its current level, so it could be the next decade before there is an Initiale Paris model range.
Intriguingly, a May report on website LeftLaneNews indicated that a Renault flagship is on the way in 2014 or 2015 and is being developed through the Renault-Nissan alliance with Daimler. Although the timeline is sketchy, the idea is bolstered by this statment made by Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn last year, "You'd be very surprised if in five or six years that Mercedes and Renault-Nissan had only cooperated on small cars." LeftLane's intel is that that "Renault will decide on whether or not to launch Initiale Paris before the end of the year," at the same time it decides the fate of Alpine.