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Long living in the shadow of Lotus, British automaker Caterham is keen to make it on its own – though maybe not all on its own. The company that made its name building continuation versions of the iconic Lotus Seven still relies on automakers like Ford and Suzuki to supply its engines, and developed the SP/300.R with Lola, but has been forging a much deeper alliance with Renault.
The rebirth of the Alpine brand is going to have to stay in the womb a little longer, it appears. Autocar learned that Renault's styling mockup was secretly shown to possible clients recently, and the feedback was tepid enough for the French company to send the design back to the drawing board. The delay will likely push the sports car back to a 2016 launch.
It's been a long time since we've seen an Alpine roaring on either road or track, but this year Renault is bringing back the once vaunted marque in a big way. It's got a new sports car under development together with Caterham, but to drum up some enthusiasm and rekindle the spirit of the Alpine win at Le Mans in 1978, Renault relaunched the Alpine racing team in European endurance racing this season. And after an absence of 35 years, the Alpine team has prevailed once again.
Caterham will be radically expanding beyond its core market of track-day specials with a new Renault-based CUV and city car. Following our initial reports back in November, the new models, which we can only hope are as ridiculously sporty as Caterham's other offerings, have been confirmed by Chairman Tony Fernandes to news agency Reuters.
Bulgaria, Brazil and Mexico were three of the countries licensed to build the Alpine A110 under license in the sixties and seventies. With the revival of the former Renault rally racing brand, Mexico, whose Dinalpin sold the earlier iteration, wants to do it again – but this time with no connection to the parent company. It's called Project SST-77 and it is being headed by Miguel Jimenez, with the aims of developing a "low capacity, low weight, agile, high performance" sports car.
Renault believes there's enough Alpine love to restart that brand with its own model almost immediately. The launch of the Initiale Paris luxury brand it's been mulling, on the other hand, will be more restrained: a report in Autocar says that instead of launching with a first model based on the Mercedes E-Class architecture, Renault is going to introduce an Initiale Paris trim line on the new Clio and Espace. More accurately, that should be 're-introduce and aggressively market,' since Renault
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