Today, the Alpine brand somehow continues to flourish with just one model, the A110. The high-priced two-seater sports car has been in production since 2017 yet remains quite popular. Year to date, 2,416 examples have been sold in EU-EFTA-UK – up 17 per cent YoY – and the margin on each is likely high.
The challenge for Renault will be to keep Alpine’s resale values strong and its image exclusive as it adds multiple additional models. Going electric presents further complications on top of a major planned increase in overall volume. So what models are next for Alpine and in which segments? Let’s take a look.
With a new CEO in Philippe Krief (he succeeded Laurent Rossi in July), and the first of several fresh vehicles not too far away now, it’s all change for the marque. And one of those major shifts is a bespoke architecture for future cars and crossovers.
Alpine’s own electric-compatible platform is called APP, the middle initial standing for Performance. It will be the basis of a successor for the A110 due in 2026 as well as for a revival of the A310.
The second of the pair of sports cars, while sharing quite a lot with the replacement for today’s sole model, will be larger and have four seats. The Dieppe plant is being retooled for combined annual production of 5,000-6,000 cars. At least one of the Alpine Performance Platform models should also offer a convertible body derivative.
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APP will be a bonded aluminium structure and perhaps surprisingly, Renault has authorised the use of internal combustion engines for certain applications. There have been strong hints too that hydrogen might be a possible fuel towards the end of the 2020s.
One of the major differences between the next A110 and the A310 will be placement of the batteries. While each is to be an EV, in the two-seater, there will be a pair of cells packs: the main one amidships with a smaller battery in the nose of the car. This is obviously going to make it a heavier vehicle than today’s A110. Engineers will therefore be putting a lot of work in to ensure that any comparison with the sublime-handling and lightweight current model will be at worst neutral.
In addition to the extra places for passengers, Renault will seek to set the A310 apart with a different battery positioning philosophy. Yes, there will be one aft of the occupants but the main pack is to be positioned in the floorpan. APP is said to support 77-100 kWh batteries and motors putting out between 250 and 500 kilowatts. The power units will be positioned on either the rear or both axles.
Long before the two high-priced sports cars arrive, Alpine’s next additional model will be a small & tall hatchback. Due in 2024, the A290 is to be the twin of the future Renault 5. A prototype (see image) was shown in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Buyers will likely be able to choose either 160 kW or 200 kW variants but just the one battery (said to have a net capacity of 52 kWh) should be offered.
Close to a year after the arrival of the 4.05 m long A290 comes the brand’s second EV, this time a C-segment sports crossover. Expected to be called GT X-Over, the platform is the Alliance’s CMF-EV with production at the Dieppe factory in Normandy.
Renault wants to eventually make the division one which offers vehicles from the four-metre long size class right up to the luxury level. With that in mind, after the A290, GT X-Over, A110 and A310 are launched, there should be one more model. Little is known of the E segment entry but with Renault Group’s CEO keen to see Alpine expand into a global brand, a 5m-long electric SUV for – potentially – China and North America, would make much sense.
It’s too early to speculate about the platform of the biggest Alpine but it would in all likelihood be a project derived from future Nissan and Infiniti E-SUVs. The ‘A790’ is said to be pencilled in for launch in 2028/2029.
Having been bereft of new models for too many years, Dacia sales understandably went into steep decline towards the end of the previous decade. Then came new generations of the Logan and Sandero and a major reboot began.
The success of the Sandero especially is much of the reason why this back-to-basics brand’s sales just keep on rising. Look at what happened in the European region last month: 38,215 cars and SUVs sold versus 41,043 for Renault itself.
Year to date, the totals are 376,021 versus 444,813 with Renault having an outstanding August thanks to new models. So if Dacia isn’t yet able to threaten the diamond logo brand, it’s certainly doing very well indeed: Opel/Vauxhall, Fiat, Citroën, Hyundai and Ford each sold fewer passenger vehicles in EU-EFTA-UK during the eight months to the end of August.
The Duster used to be a wildly popular model but as with the old-shape Logan and Sandero, Renault has allowed this small SUV – first launched in 2010 – to become outdated. Still, economy pricing and long-since repaid development costs inevitably help greatly to make it usefully profitable.
Last facelifted in 2021, the Duster will continue in production until 2024, at which point a new model will arrive based on the CMF-B architecture. For the first time, a hybrid option will be available.
The current Sandero range, including its Stepway derivative, new in 2020, likely has five to six more years of production and sales in it. That should also mean a facelift in 2024.
There are no mild hybrid, hybrid or diesel variants of either the standard hatchback or the Stepway crossover, all cars being powered by 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines of various outputs. Both are built in Romania (Pitesti) and Morocco (Tangier and Casablanca).
There will likely be an EV version of the next Sandero but the car won’t be electric-only: Dacia’s CEO is on the record as stating that the brand has no plans to ditch IC engines, at least not during this decade.
The Spring has been a perhaps surprising success for Dacia. This cheap and not terribly sophisticated small EV has found much favour in France especially. It is produced in China by Renault’s partner Dongfeng Motor. Available only in left-hand drive form, sales commenced during March 2021.
At first, this 3,734 mm long vehicle was available solely to car sharing schemes and in delivery van forms. There are many low-cost features, including steel wheels with plastic covers, while in base spec the car comes without air-conditioning, a spare tyre or electrically-powered mirrors.
The battery pack’s capacity is 36.8 kWh and the single motor in most versions produces just 33 kW. Top speed is only 125 km/h (78 mph), while zero to 100 km/h takes an extraordinarily long 19.1 seconds.
Dacia premiered a new version of the Spring called Extreme at the Brussels motor show in January. This has a more powerful (48 kW) motor, the boot has a capacity of 300 litres not including a lower well where an optional spare tyre can be stored, and with the rear bench folded, this rises to 600 litres. As for the the van, its capacity is up to 800 litres with a maximum load of 325 kg.
A next generation Spring will reportedly be based on a low-cost architecture called CMF-AEV where the A stands for Affordable. This car is due in the second half of the decade. It is likely to be built in either Europe or North Africa.
In two years’ time we should see a new SUV called Bigster. Expected to be around the same size as the former Lodgy, it will offer seating for up to seven and be powered by petrol and petrol-electric hybrid powertrains. The architecture is the R-N-M Alliance’s CMF-B.
There was a mini-preview in January 2021, in the form of the partially revealed Bigster concept. Renault Group will add this 4.6 m long SUV to its Romania-based brand’s line-up in 2025, the company stated in March. Production will be at Dacia’s Miovani base.
The second of two features looking at Renault Group’s next generation passenger vehicles will focus on the Renault brand.