Both companies are looking to launch a lightweight sports car by 2015.

A report coming out of France indicates that Renault is considering forging an alliance with England's Caterham to develop the car that will spearhead the return of the storied Alpine nameplate.

If signed, the agreement would benefit both automakers equally. Caterham is looking for the help of a larger company to develop its upcoming range-topping sports car while Renault is seeking the expertise of a smaller company to make the next Alpine as light and agile as possible.

Caterham boss Tony Fernandes reportedly traveled to France last May to hammer out the details of the potential agreement with Carlos Tavares, Renault's Chief Operating Officer.

"We've had talks with potential partners," explained Tavares in a meeting earlier this week. "We'll decide whether or not to revive Alpine before the end of this year, but I think there's a good chance that a new Alpine will see the light of day."

According to French magazine L'Equipe, Renault briefly considered teaming up with Lotus but nixed the idea because of the latter's shaky future and recent management reshuffling. Caterham is a more stable company and it already has a standing agreement with Renault in Formula 1 racing.

If it is given the green light for production, the next Alpine will be a light rear-engined car similar to the A110 Berlinette of the 1960s that will cost anywhere between ,35,000 and ,40,000 (roughly $44,000 to $50,000).

Photo by Ronan Glon.