The flatfish on four wheels is coming back

Renault is reviving the Alpine sports brand. First she should fight for the title in Formula 1 and then sell as many cars as possible.

A car with history: the Renault Alpine A110 (left) won the first World Rally Championship, among other things.  Its successor was the A310.

EIt was fast, agile and light: some called it “le turbot” because it was flat as turbot. In 1973 the Renault Alpine A110 won the first world rally championship. The Frenchman Jean Rédélé, who graduated from the prestigious HEC business school after the war and became Renault’s youngest car dealer at the age of 24, launched the car and the entire sports brand at his birthplace in Dieppe in northern France. At heart, Rédélé was less a manager or a salesman than a racing driver and a creator of cars. Renault has worked on Alpine since the 1960s. The relationship was not always easy because, as Rédélé complained, the company was not doing enough for Alpine. At some point the brand was forgotten.

But now Renault is taking another attempt at revitalization. It is the second attempt in recent years. The first comeback goes back to Carlos Ghosn, who later fled the Japanese judiciary to Lebanon. Dressed in blousons in the blue brand color, he did a test run in Dieppe with the French Minister for Economic Affairs, Bruno Le Maire, in the latest Alpine A110 at the end of 2017 and also inaugurated a new production facility. But after a good start to sales, sales soon fell short of expectations, so that production had to be halved again at the end of 2019.