The partnership was forged in 2012 against the backdrop of increasing ties between the two companies: the Caterham F1 team was running Renault engines, Tony Fernandes wanted to put Renault engines in the road-going Caterham Seven, there was talk of collaborating on all manner of vehicles and a sports car seemed like a natural place to start. Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham was established at the historic Alpine factory in Dieppe, France, with each partner holding 50 percent. The goal was to launch a pair of sports cars to be based on common architecture but differentiated for sale by both partners by 2016.
Unfortunately, tensions began to flare between the English and French parties to the joint venture earlier this year. Disagreements emerged over certain parameters, and development was delayed. Now Renault and Caterham have announced the dissolution of the joint venture altogether.
As a result, Renault will take over Caterham's stake in the operation, dropping the latter's name from the venture that will now be known strictly as Société des Automobiles Alpine, the term "société" having a more corporate connotation in French than a social one and the company now essentially becoming another division of the Renault Group that also includes Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors along with strategic alliances with AvtoVaz and Nissan (including Infiniti and Datsun).
Moving forward, both Renault and Caterham still plan to launch their own sports cars independently, and while the Alpine joint venture may have dissolved, the announcement jointly released below doesn't rule out "other forms of cooperation" between the two in the future.
June 10, 2014
Renault has acquired Caterham Group's stake in Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham
Following a mutual agreement between Renault and Caterham Group, Renault has increased its stake in Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham to 100%, following acquisition of the interest held by Caterham Group. Renault will now continue to develop its own Alpine sports car to be launched in 2016, as initially planned. Caterham Group also plans to continue with its own sports car.
This acquisition brings to an end to the partnership signed in November 2012 by Renault and Caterham Group to develop and manufacture sports cars through a joint venture, Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, owned 50/50 by the two partners. Other forms of cooperation could still be envisaged between Renault and Caterham Group in line with each company's strategic policy directions.
As a result, Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham will change its name to Société des Automobiles Alpine. The change will be made as part of a general meeting to be held in June.