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Renault to introduce new upmarket brands; Alpine and Initial Paris

Renault is considering introducing two new upmarket brands, Alpine and Initial Paris, to assist with its plans to reduce dependence on European sales – a market that is dwindling. The French company is also looking to expand its operations in emerging markets to further boost sales.

In parts of Europe, new car deliveries are set to drop by as much as seven per cent this year compared with 2011. To keep on top of this, Renault is planning some changes. In a recent interview with Boomberg, Renault COO Carlos Tavares said,

“You need to be competitive across the world. That’s why we have been managing the change from a European-focused company toward a global carmaker.”

He said that the company may reintroduce Alpine as a sports car brand, and a new luxury vehicle brand in the future, hinting towards borrowing technology from Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti. This could also assist with expanding into emerging markets such as China, where large luxury vehicle sales are booming.

With two new upmarket brands, this would give Renault increased presence across more market segments. It would give the company a total of four brands, adding to the current Renault and budget brand Dacia. Tavares said,

“We may have one day a luxury brand. That would help from a profitability standpoint because everybody’s always looking at VW and what Audi represents for the VW group”.

“The ambition we have in Europe is to make sure that you, as a consumer, will hesitate between a Volkswagen and a Renault.”

Renault has previously revealed that it is working on a new large vehicle for the luxury segment based on a Mercedes-Benz E-Class platform. The deal with Mercedes will see the German company borrowing some of Renault’s tech and knowledge on the small car markets.

As for the specifics on Alpine and Initial Paris, it is far too early to know what the company could be planning. Last month Renault did reveal a rather intriguing modern interpretation of the Alpine A110 though. This may spawn some kind of production vehicle further down the track.

A decision on whether or not to introduce the two brands is expected to be made towards the end of this year.

In terms of venturing further into emerging markets, Renault is looking to increase its market share in Russia from 33 per cent to 40 per cent by 2015. Tavares said that “you’ll be surprised in a few years to see the market share that we have in some regions outside Europe.”

Renault will also commence producing vehicles in China in 2015, under a partnership deal with Dongfeng Motor Group Co.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.