Renault and Geely could expand their collaboration, with the former’s Alpine performance brand reportedly considering using a platform from the latter’s Lotus brand.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi told Autocar a collaboration with Geely signifies the “most natural” fit for its upcoming D-Crossover and E-Crossover models, due in 2027 and 2028.
That would suggest the brand is looking at using the platform of the Lotus Eletre, which will occupy the same segment as the larger of the two Alpine SUVs.
Come 2024, Lotus will also have a smaller electric SUV, which will rival the upcoming Porsche Macan EV and Maserati Grecale Folgore and Alpine’s as-yet unnamed D-Crossover.
Lotus has previously said it’s happy to work with partners who want to use the platform.
Alpine’s upcoming SUVs will form a new “lifestyle branch” for the French brand, with Mr Rossi telling Autocar they will be “in the segment of Porsche Macan and Cayenne, more or less” with coupe SUV styling.
While he promised Alpine will emphasise its “racing pedigree” in all its vehicles, he added: “These are going to be two-tonne, five-metre-long cars. You’re not going to make a sports car, unless you’re Ferrari.”
But he noted electrification brings advantages, explaining, “Handling is made a bit easier at cost with electrification because you can have differentiated torque on each wheel.”
He also told Automotive News the US is “the main destination for these cars”. Alpine doesn’t currently sell cars in that market.
Alpine is already collaborating with Lotus on electric sports cars, with the French brand replacing its current A110 with an EV in 2026. Parents Renault and Geely also recently established a 50/50 partnership to build internal combustion engines.
While Alpine will use Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance platforms for its smaller vehicles, Mr Rossi told Autocar that Nissan isn’t necessarily a logical partner for larger vehicles.
“The difficulty is Alpine a different animal. We are creating a slightly different category in terms expected performance for customers,” he said.
The upcoming mid-sized Alpine GT X-Over, due in 2024, will use the CMF-EV platform underpinning the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric and Nissan Ariya. It’ll offer all-wheel drive and torque vectoring.
The Alliance’s CMF-BEV platform will underpin a new hot hatch closely related to the Renault 5, which will serve as the entry point to the range.
Alpine will cease sales of combustion-powered vehicles from 2026 and aims to have a full lineup of zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
It’s also preparing to expand into the North American and Chinese markets, with Renault expecting the brand to bring in more than €8 billion (A$12.41bn) worth of revenue in 2030.
Renault and Alpine’s local distributor, Ateco, has previously said it’s open to bringing new Alpine vehicles here. The brand’s sole model, the A110, was discontinued last year as it didn’t comply with stricter ADR 85 side-impact regulations.