Alpine boss says Lotus underpinnings would be a “natural fit” for Porsche Macan and Cayenne rivals.
French performance brand Alpine’s upcoming flagship electric models will be crossover rivals to the Porsche Macan and Porsche Cayenne, and could be built on a Lotus platform.
The two models will further expand the Renault-owned sporting brand’s electric range after the launch of the Alpine R5 hot hatch and the GT X-over sports crossover.
The pair, due in 2027 and 2028, are crossovers “in the segment of Porsche Macan and Cayenne, more or less”, Laurent Rossi told journalists as Alpine posted its earnings figures for 2022.
Alpine will have to look beyond the Renault Group for a platform, Rossi said. Lotus owner Geely is the “most natural” partner for the project outside the Renault-Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance given the current projects between Renault and the Chinese company, Rossi said.
Alpine is working with Lotus on an electric replacement for the A110 while Renault and Geely last October agreed a 50/50 partnership to build internal combustion powertrains.
Lotus has said it’s happy to work with partners wanting to re-use the platform from the new Eletre SUV, as well as a new platform that would underpin the smaller Lotus Type 134 crossover coming in 2024.
Nissan is also in the frame to supply Alpine with a platform given it plays in the larger D/E segments in the US, however, the Japanese brand isn’t a logical partner, Rossi said. “The difficulty is Alpine a different animal. We are creating a slightly different category in terms expected performance for customers,” he added.
The two Alpine cars will be in the “lifestyle branch” of the brand’s line-up, rather than outright sports machines, according to Rossi. “These are going to be two-tonne, five-metre-long cars. You’re not going to make a sports car, unless you’re Ferrari,” he said.
However they would still deliver the sensation of a performance machine with excellent acceleration and handing, he promised. “Handling is made a bit easier at cost with electrification because you can have differentiated torque on each wheel,” he said. As with Lotus, Alpine is keen to emphasise that its ‘racing pedigree’ will continue to play a role in product development, irrespective of market segment.
The styling of the cars will make them more coupé-crossovers than upright SUVs, Rossi said.
The twin Alpine models would rival Lotus’s SUVs as well as the new electric Porsche Macan due in 2024 and the electric Cayenne due later. Alpine would also need to compete against more sporting electric SUVs from the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi, as well as Maserati’s electric Grecale Folgore SUV.
The two big Alpine models are intended to giving the brand a fighting chance in the US, where it plans to launch in the near future. The brand aims to grow global sales to 150,000 by 2030, up from 3546 last year – solely from its A110 model.
New markets will account for an expected half of Alpine’s growth by 2030, the brand says, though it has yet to confirm any specific production or revenue targets. Some 15% of its sales will be made in markets outside Europe by 2030, it estimates.
Renault Group boss Luca de Meo said recently that Alpine’s production facility in Dieppe, northern France, was “flat out” meeting capacity for today’s petrol-powered A110. The site will be configured to build the upcoming GT X-Over SUV from 2024, but it has yet to be confirmed whether it will build the newly confirmed D- and E-segment models.