Alpine is officially back, and the company is already considering what to do next.
Renault revealed the revived Alpine brand's A110 sports coupe at March's Geneva Motor Show, but production of the consumer models has only just begun. For a historical connection with the maker's original vehicles, the new models come from the same plant in Dieppe, France, which dates back in 1969.
The old factory required extensive upgrades to be up to the task to produce the modern, aluminum-intensive A110. After two years of work and an investment of 35 million euros ($41.2 million at current exchange rates), it's time for the new vehicles to come off the line. The workforce there is also 60 percent larger than before.
The new A110 puts coupes like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alfa Romeo 4C in its sights. Power comes from a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sitting behind the driver. It pumps out 252 horsepower (188 kilowatts) and 236 pound-feet (320 Newton-meters) of torque, which is allegedly enough to reach 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 4.5 seconds. The only available gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
To make the most of this output, Alpine keeps weight low by extensively using aluminum for the A110's body panels and chassis. The result is a coupe tipping the scales at just 2,381 pounds (1,080 kilograms). A recent video indicates the coupe is quite tossable on the road.
If the standard variant isn't up to your standards, then Alpine already reportedly has a quicker and lighter weight version of the A110 under development with the codename Sport Chassis. It would retain the existing engine, but additional tuning would push the output to around 300 hp (224 kW). Stripping everything unnecessary from the cabin could take a further 110 pounds (50 kg) off the scales. Since production of the regular A110 is only just starting, don't look for the hotter variant to arrive for at least a year.
The next new model to come from Alpine will reportedly be a performance-oriented compact crossover. Existing platforms from the Renault Nissan Alliance would provide the basis for this vehicle. Expect the SUV to maintain Alpine's legacy of having a low weight and high-output four-cylinder engine.
Gallery: Alpine A110 Factory
Groupe Renault inaugurates new Alpine A110 production line in Dieppe, France
December 14, 2017
Carlos Ghosn, Renault Chairman and CEO, and Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, officially inaugurated the production line for the new Alpine A110 today at Alpine’s manufacturing base in Dieppe, France.
This production line provides Groupe Renault with a high-end facility that is unique in Europe for the assembly of all-aluminium cars.
Staff numbers at the Dieppe plant have increased by 60 percent in two years.
Dieppe, France, December 14, 2017 - Carlos Ghosn, Renault Chairman and CEO, and France’s Minister for Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire today inaugurated the new Alpine A110 production line at Groupe Renault’s Alpine facility in Dieppe, Normandy, the brand’s original home. Together, Mr Ghosn and Mr Le Maire inspected the production line dedicated to Alpine’s new sports car.
“The revival of Alpine production in Dieppe, where the original Berlinette was made almost 50 years ago, presented us with a challenge, but we rose to it together, with backing from the state, the region, the local urban district, Groupe Renault and the Alliance. Investment totalled more than €35 million, 151 people have been recruited and the factory has been refurbished. The excellence and French-style elegance that the brand stands for are more than just claims; today, in Dieppe they are an industrial reality,” declared Carlos Ghosn.
Following two years’ work and an outlay of more than €35 million, the Dieppe plant is one of a kind in Europe. It is capable of assembling the new Alpine A110’s all-aluminium body and chassis, while the paint shop’s new sanding and cleaning robots guarantee a premium quality finish. The assembly line itself has been modernised in accordance with the Alliance’s best practices.
In parallel to this transformation, the Dieppe plant has raised workforce levels by 60 percent with the recruitment of 151 new staff over the past two years, and all 392 employees have been given four weeks’ (140 hours) training specific to production of the Alpine A110.
As Alpine’s historic home, the factory built by Jean Rédélé in 1969 has long specialised in the production of small sporty models. Following its conversion to Alliance manufacturing standards and, more specifically, for production of the new Alpine A110, the Dieppe plant is today perfectly qualified to produce premium vehicles.
About Groupe Renault
Groupe Renault has been making cars since 1898. Today it is an international multi-brand group, selling close to 3.2 million vehicles in 127 countries in 2016, with 36 manufacturing sites, 12,700 points of sales and employing more than 120,000 people. To meet the major technological challenges of the future and continue its strategy of profitable growth, the Group is harnessing its international growth and the complementary fit of its five brands, Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors, Alpine and LADA, together with electric vehicles and the unique Alliance with Nissan. With a new team in Formula 1 and a strong commitment to Formula E, Renault sees motorsport as a vector of innovation and brand awareness.