By Paul Rachwal
Monday, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
 

The earlier rumor and subsequent rumbling of Renault and Caterham Group teaming up to create sports cars is now official, as the two companies made a statement to the effect. At Renault, the resulting lightweight sports car will be branded an Alpine to pay homage to the sports car from its past. It was also confirmed that the two cars will have their own character and be assembled at an Alpine plant in Dieppe, France, which employs 300 workers.

As part of the deal, the Caterham Group will own a 50 percent stake in the Automobile Alpine Renault company, which is currently 100 percent owned by Renault SAS. A new company, called The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, will be created in January of 2013. The joint engineering department will be headed up by Bernard Ollivier, whose career at Renault dates back to 1977 and most recently held a vice president title at the company.

Unfortunately, not much new technical information is being revealed in this new announcement. The car is expected to sport an all-alloy chassis and seating for two, however. It will be rear-drive and may develop about 250 horsepower, with pricing expected to fall in at about £35,000 (about $56,000).

"It could become a reality within the next three or four years," said Carlos Tavares, the COO at Renault, further adding to the belief that that the car may be produced as a 2015. All engineering and industrial costs will be split 50/50 between Caterham Group and Renault.

The Dieppe plant was built in 1969 and currently builds vehicles from Renault Sport Technologies, including racing cars and the Renault Clio RS hot hatch for the European market.