In January, Renault CEO Luca de Meo announced the global expansion plan, and the sub-brand Alpine was given the role of flagging in North America and China. Not only is building a car difficult, but servicing it without an easily accessible network is a costly pain, as start-up brands have recently discovered. Tesla has been in the business for a decade, and Tesla owners still face a unique set of challenges. As de Meo looks for the best way to enter the US market, AutoNation may have opened the door. car news The Renault CEO has reportedly been in talks to get the Alpines into showrooms with AutoNation CEO Mike Manley, who was once Fiat Chrysler’s top man.
Note that this is all preliminary. Renault works from many angles, AutoNation being just one of them. Some draws to use with Ft. Headquartered in Lauderdale, Florida, the dealer group has been established for 27 years, has more than 300 outlets nationwide, and has been the number one dealer group in the United States since its establishment a year ago in 1997. AutoNation will sell 229,971 new vehicles in 2022, down from 262,403 in 2021 and ceding the company’s long-standing lead to the Lithia Motors dealer group.
While AutoNation sells just about everything from Bentleys to Nissans, it doesn’t sell Porsches, Polestars or Lotuses. An Alpine A110 sports coupe will fill a vacant spot on the showroom floor, and an Alpine electric crossover won’t have to compete for attention among competitors or Alpine partners. Renault already has a joint venture with Polestar owner Geely to develop ICE and electric ICE powertrains, and may work with Geely on a CUV platform, with the electric Alpine A110 successor rumored to be in partnership with Lotus. In the US, the smaller Alpine crossover is about the size of a Porsche Macan, and the larger one is about the size of a Porsche Cayenne Coupe.
It’s also possible that AutoNation could start as a digital frontier for ordering Alpines, and then be able to service cars that are sold, if the discussions go anywhere. Renault’s North American expansion still has a lot going for it, but A110 sales are small, and the crossover won’t arrive here until 2028, so there’s still time.