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Volume 10 No. 24


Renault "unveiled plans to develop a high-performance car in a deal with British specialist sports carmaker Caterham," according to Laurence Frost of REUTERS. The French automaker, "which has flopped with recent attempts at larger or sportier models like the Laguna car, Vel Satis limousine and Wind roadster, also plans to revive its defunct Alpine brand for the new model, to go on sale by '16." The road-legal Alpine and an equivalent Caterham model "will put racecar engineering within reach of more customers than rival F1-derived road offerings." Caterham Chair Tony Fernandes said, "If you look at Formula One, there's only Ferrari and McLaren, which are extremely expensive. We'll produce a car that many more people can afford with F1 technology." Renault sold its F1 team in '09-10 but continues to supply engines to Caterham F1, as well as the Williams, Lotus and Red Bull teams. The companies "declined to give details of pricing, sales targets or their financial transaction, which sees Caterham acquire a 50% stake in Automobiles Alpine Renault, a subsidiary of the French automaker." Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said, "We're talking about several thousand vehicles a year." French media reported that the cars "will be priced from $44,700-$51,100, a far cry from McLaren's $1.3M P1 supercar or the entry-level Ferrari California at €185,000 ($236,500)" (REUTERS, 11/5).

MADE IN FRANCE: In Munich, Annika Kläsener reported that the proposed sports cars are supposed to be built at a plant in Dieppe, France. Caterham Group Deputy Chair Dato Kamarudin Meranun emphasized that the "Caterham's F1 involvement represents the company's entrance into the consumer automotive industry." Meranun said, "Our F1 team has been working successfully with Renault Sport F1 since the start of the 2011 season. Now, in addition, we will take our partnership from the track to the street" (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 11/5)