Oscar Wilde said there are only two great tragedies in life: one is not getting what you want and the other, appropriate for today’s news, is getting it. Renault’s CEO Luca de Meo told journalists yesterday that beloved sports car brand Alpine is coming to the United States. He also told journalists that the brand will not be bringing any sports cars.
Yes, a rant is coming. I’m not going to swear. I’m not going to get mean or sarcastic. I want to be heard. Specifically, I want someone in Renault PR to print this out and put it in the hands of Renault CEO Luca de Meo, and I want Luca de Meo to be reading these words while drinking his espresso or smoking a cigarette or whatever. At the end of this rant will be other news and Luca, my pal, my friend, I also want you to read those, too, because I chose them for you.
If, at the end of this, you disagree — if you want to ignore me, if you think I’m just being silly — that’s ok. I get it. Maybe I am silly. If we allow a third tragedy in life, it may be listening to the rants of automotive journalists who have strong opinions and absolutely no skin in the game. Hop in the car Shinji, we got work to do.
Don’t Screw It Up
I’m writing this for you, Luca, but I want our American readers to grasp the importance of what I’m saying. So I’m going to review a lot of things you already know, so just bear with me please.
Alpine was a niche sports car brand from France by a man named Jean Redele who got his start hotting up Renaults, and who eventually built the glorious original A110, which was a rear-engined sports that won a bunch of races. Renault eventually bought the company and the A110 went on to win the World Rally Championship in 1973. The now Renault-owned Alpine also won Le Mans with a prototype in 1978. Alpine would go on to build a few more cars, including the A310/GTA you might know from “Neon Genesis Evangelion” but, mostly, the brand is known for producing stellar R5 Turbo hot hatches. Then the brand went dark for about two decades.
When Alpine eventually came back, it did so with a car called the A110. In design, spirit, and performance, the little sportster was a worthy successor to the original. I have driven this car, in France, and I think it’s absolutely wonderful (you can read more about that here). I would love for Alpine to bring the A110 to the U.S. but even I, a silly automotive journalist, understand it’s likely not possible and not worth it at this point. It would be too expensive, and the car is too late into its life.
Alpine did a bunch of other smart things, including going racing and renaming the Renault F1 team “Alpine” right at the time America woke up to the concept of Formula One. I’ve watched the company race at Le Mans. I’ve been to one of the brand’s little shops in Paris. I have an Alpine-branded notebook I take with me everywhere. I am the American who gets it.
Alpine has teased both a new A110 and an electric R5 successor and I though “Great, this is perfect.” When Alpine said it was going full EV I, too, thought this made sense. For being such a small brand, Alpine has an enormous amount of brand equity with certain people; it’s known for making clever and fast cars that look like they were designed by Cézanne and that drive like they were engineered by fighter jet-maker Dassault.
So you can imagine my excitement this morning when I opened my digital copy of Automotive News and saw this headline: “Renault’s Alpine brand sees U.S. market as key to sales, revenue targets.” I then had an ecstatic, Meg Ryan in a deli, sort of response. I agree! The U.S. market is key!
And then I read this:
The Renault sports car brand has aspirations to sell two models in the U.S., a midsize electric crossover and a larger, similar model, starting in 2027 or 2028.
“The U.S. is the main destination for these cars,” [Luca de Meo] said on a call with journalists on Wednesday.
Sure. Build some crossovers. I just want to make it clear now, Luca, that I support this plan. People in America (and everywhere else) want electric crossovers. You’re never going to get the volume you need making only sports cars, and people who complain about Lotus or Porsche or whomever building crossovers and sedans are narrow-minded malcontents. It turns out that the many of the customers who bought Cayennes and Panameras grew up loving 911s and 944s. There’s a lesson in that! Porsche didn’t stop selling 911s here, they just put them next to the SUVs.
But then I kept reading about the new cars Alpine is launching:
The first to be launched will be the Renault 5 Alpine, a “hot hatch” version of the coming Renault 5 small EV, in the second half of 2024. It will be followed in 2025 by a sporty compact crossover, tentatively called the GT, which will have a “bespoke” design and will use a highly modified Renault-Nissan platform, likely CMF-EV.
Alpine’s compact crossover will have performance enhancements including torque vectoring, more powerful electric motors and different battery chemistry from mainstream Renault Group models.
An electric A110 successor is due by the start of 2027. It will be developed in collaboration with Lotus, part of China’s Geely group, which has several joint venture agreements with Renault.
Those three models are not scheduled to be sold in the U.S.
Emphasis mine as I slowly start to lose my mind. We’re getting, according to Automotive News, a Porsche Macan and a Cayenne Coupe and, at least for the next decade, that’s it.
This is, I think, unacceptable. Alpine does not have much of a brand in the United States and the brand that it does have is going to partially rely on people who care to be evangelists and those people are probably going to be upset. I am upset. This all sounds extremely familiar to me.
Now, instead of telling people who ask about Alpine that “Hey, this is a brand you should care about” I feel kinda compelled to say “This is a brand who does not get it so go ahead and buy the Lotus because Lotus gets it.”
But I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to calm myself and assume that maybe you assumed no one here cared. I’ve seen the great lengths you’ve gone to in France to get people excited about the sporting nature of the brand, and maybe you assumed that this was only important for the hometown crowd. It’s a fair assumption. I think it’s a wrong assumption, though. I think if you’re going to ride the F1 wave you need to, first, reach your fans in the United States and accept that they do exist. I don’t care what anyone tells you. They are wrong.
We may not have been able to drive real Alpines or R5s here in America, but I’ve played a decent amount of Gran Turismo and Forza and, in my experience, we’ve all driven and loved the virtual versions of those cars. They are popular choices on those platforms. Of course, this may not be all of your audience, but it’s some of your audience, and it’s a good place to start.
So be careful, because there is something galling about not even being sort of meekly placated in this situation. You’re not even going to pretend to be bringing those cars to the United States? I understand that federalizing cars for the U.S. is expensive, but you’re not even going to try and bring over a few R5s as a sort of halo product? Why not?
Some of this is instinct and you have no reason why you should trust my instinct over your own, but I believe the cost of making either the R5 or the A110 successor available in the United States is going to get you more than you’re going to lose by not doing so. This is unknowable, of course, but consider this: If you don’t listen to me and Alpine comes to the United States and flops you’re going to be thinking about this column. It’s going to gnaw at you. You’re going to wish you listened.
Take this advice as advice from a friend you’ve never met. A person who cares about what you are trying to do and wishes the best for you. Please, please, please, don’t screw it up.
VinFast Is Screwing It Up
Vietnamese automaker VinFast is shipping cars to the United States and the company is already in trouble. Everyone who cares has read the great Kevin Williams piece about how these cars are not ready for primetime. VinFast’s cars are too expensive for an unknown brand and the cars are burdened with a confusing battery renting option that makes no real sense. And then, a week ago, Tesla announced it was massively undercutting VinFast with a price drop.
Look at this way: You can get a VinFast VF8 for $59,000 or you can get a Model Y for $52,990. Which one are you going to take?
VinFast’s response? According to Reuters, it’s going to be, uh, something?
“As a new brand entering the market, when other brands reduce their prices we have to come up with promotions to ensure VinFast’s competitiveness,” a VinFast spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are considering many promotion programmes and will announce soon.”
The statement did not specify whether the promotions would include price cuts.
I get that Tesla threw a knuckleball, but this does not engender confidence. There’s some level of: Fake-it-till-you-make-it required to appeal to an American audience. We respect, whether for good or ill, confidence. We even respect false confidence and completely unfounded bluster!
Come out swinging, Luca. Don’t be VinFast.
Maybe Be Like Dacia
Renault’s affordable brand, Dacia, is kicking ass. It’s the right brand at the right time. There’s a land war in Europe, everyone’s worried about a recessions, but you still gotta buy a car sometimes. Why not a Dacia Duster?
According to the company, sales were up 6.8% last year. That’s 2022. That’s the year where most car brands lost sales. What happens when you sell more cars in a contracting market? You pick up market share. From the company’s press release:
Markets where Dacia vehicles are sold contracted by 5.5% relative to 2021. The brand’s strong performance confirms the relevance of its positioning of offering the best value for money, as its new range has proven to be a popular choice among retail customers. In 2022, Dacia achieved a record-breaking market share in Europe with 7.6% of [Private Car] sales to retail customers, strengthening its position for the second year in a row (having claimed a 6.2% share in 2021).
The core selling point of Dacia is value. They are not the flashiest cars. They are not the fastest cars. They are totally fine cars for a better than fine price. And that’s all they ever need to be. It works. To quote Willy Shakespeare: To thine own self be true.
Foo Fighters And Green Day Are Playing A Harley-Davidson Festival In Milwaukee
This will require no real explanation to any American over 30. If you lived through any part of the ’90s you remember that the worst possible thing you could do was sell out. This was especially true if you were a grunge-y rock band or a punk band. Green Day, the most famous ’90s punk band at least by record sales, was banned from their hometown club for signing with a major record label. It was nuts. Green Day then went on to make songs and records that decried a sort of rising, Harley-riding, Toby Keith-ian jingoism. Most famously, they wrote the song “American idiot,” which has these lines:
Well, maybe I’m the [horribly offensive word to the gay community], AmericaI’m not a part of a redneck agenda Now everybody, do the propaganda And sing along to the age of paranoia
And now Green Day is playing… the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival in Milwaukee this summer with the Foo Fighters and, guess what? No one cares. No one is going to get mad at Green Day or the Foo Fighters. I mean, maybe someone will, but most people will not care. Few will call them hypocrites or tweet stupid, angry stuff at them.
No reasonable person should begrudge Green Day and Foo Fighters who both, for decades, have continued making enjoyable music and playing big, enjoyable concerts for fans. No one should doubt them and no one should feel bad if they make a little money. It sounds like a great show. Joan Jett and Phantogram will be there. It’s Milwaukee so expect both good beer and good sausage. Go have fun.
I say this, Luca, because we all know that Green Day and the Foo Fighters have earned it. They have nothing to prove. You still do. At least here in America.
Don’t screw it up.
I know this was a bit…passionate, but am I wrong? This is a lot of words for the CEO of Renault. Maybe I’m wrong. Luca, or anyone, feel free to tell me I’m wrong.
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Photos: Alpine, VinFast, Harley-Davidson, Dacia
I created this account speccifically to post this reply. I think it’s likely that Alpine wants to enter the IMSA sports car championship. To do so, they need to sell 5000 cars per year in the USA. Doing so would be way easier with SUVs. So I think it’s possible that the entire point of Alpine coming to the USA to sell SUVs is to be able to enter the IMSA championship.
We all (begrudgingly) accept that SUVs sell but I can’t help but think Alpine is fishing in crowded waters when it could easily carve out it’s own niche.
Hasn’t McLaren been doing well in the US lately? I’d imagine the kind of person buying from a niche premium brand (particularly one with a racing pedigree) would be interested in the option of owning something the brand is known for.
Find a spot in the lineup. More people may buy Mach-Es than Mach 1s but there is something reassuring in knowing the Mach 1 exists as an option.
If Alpine comes to the U.S. without any A110s, they are dead to me. I’ve been wanting an A110 for so long… this announcement is just plain cruel.
If you wanna bring an unknown crossover brand to the U.S. then do it with Dacia! Car enthusiasts love Dacia because of Top Gear and will tell people to buy Dacia crossovers! Dacia could have massive success in the U.S. selling crossovers! There’s no reason to slap American Alpine enthusiasts in the face like this by selling something no Alpine enthusiast wants and denying us what we asked for!
I bought a new Alpine A110 a couple of years ago (a very unpopular thing to do here in Porsche land) after doing a lot of reading, video-watching, etc. I also wanted something I wouldn’t be able to buy at home in the US. It’s a great little car (reliable too!) and while it is undoubtedly a niche vehicle, I think the overall formula would do well enough in my home country – the US. Is it perfect? No, but it’s infinitely more liveable than, say, an Elise. It’s also distinctive looking and, most importantly, amazing to drive. I also like that they’re uncommon.
2 crossovers for the USA? That’s a fail and while we haven’t seen the product, I don’t see how they’ll follow in the same mold of lightweight, sporty, and interactive to drive. Roughly 22 more years until my fellow US dwellers can import a real modern Alpine…yeesh.
This is something I hear about newer Renaults all the time: they seem to be doing away with the unreliability reputation they held up until recently (and for good reason; if Americans think the Renaults they got in the 80s were bad, they should try owning pretty much any Renault engineered between the mid 90s and the early 2010s). Maybe the engineering deal with Mercedes forced them to improve their standards? Anyway, good to hear you’re enjoying the Alpine! It’s one of the few modern cars I actually love 🙂
As a current owner of an Abarth 500, and as someone who sees the new ElectrAbarth as an abomination with fake cracking, burbling exhaust sounds, either the electric R5 or A110 would make a perfect sparky little companion to the spicy little meatball currently in the driveway. Some of us don’t give 2 flaming squirrel turds about crossovers, SUVs, etc. I personally love small, wildly impractical, fun to toss around (yet somehow fairly economical) nuggets. BRING US THE NUGGETS, DAMNIT
I’m upset that I know no one will ever read this comment. Whatever… I have a long history of never-read comments on the Old Site.
Here’s the thing. You *can’t* have the A110 in the US. It’s not just that federalizing it is prohibitively expensive, it’s that it’s not possible without radically changing the car. Sportscars always gain weight when coming to the US due US-specific NHTSA safety standards. Things like the 5-mph bumpers and additional airbags. I’ve said (again, in comments on the Old Site) this since the A110’s debut- a US-spec A110 would be plausibly hundred(s) of pounds heavier.
What kills me is that people always gush about the lightness of this car (and the similar Alfa 4C), when there’s a significantly lighter, drastically cheaper, *globally* available car that you can buy right now… WITH a manual transmission! Sure, more sports cars available is always better… but you need to go out right now and the buy the Miata that you can actually buy while you still can, instead of whining about a fictional car that you’ll never buy.
Your comments about safety regs are way off. Most world level car companies are designing to the hardest standard and selling globally. Much of the cost of bringing a car to the US is one of support. Parts and service are the problem. Each car has unique parts that need to be on hand and the distribution centers need to be started from scratch. Dealer networks and service centers take time to build, staff and train. It is cost prohibitive to open 250 dealers and service centers at once to support a complete launch like Renault/Alpine to be competitive immediately with Mercedes. With each car, there is little that can be reused, new training and the parts catalog and service network have to expand for the unique parts that are now required.
If a company decided to pull out of the market, (looking at Alpha Romeo), all of that is sunk costs – lost, evaporated. Again, you can alway just pick up the un sold cars and deliver to some where else, but all of that infrastructure is written off.
Partially true but not totally. They will design to the ECE standards, but by doing that they can get pretty easy access to China in addition to ALL of Europe and most of the other ASEAN countries. Unfortunately that means bumpkis for North America, as many of our regs are just enough different to require changes and retesting or we don’t have exemptions that the other markets do in order to sell federalized bespoke cars here. Plus the silly amount of testing required for our various emissions requirements. Add in the topics you talk about, plus shipping cars all out of Europe, and it really doesn’t make much financial sense to sell them here.
Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it. 06dak pretty much covered my response to your second sentence. The rest of what you wrote is not wrong, but isn’t what I was talking about.
Is there a way to know someone has replied to you on this platform? I only saw this because I decided to go looking.
As a non-American, I’m genuinely curious if Alpine are marketed in the USA and pronounced correctly as Al-peen or if it has become Al-pine?
IDK, but all the Alpines (“all-peens”) in motorsport defintiely wrecked my pronunciation of Alpine (“al-pine”), TX.
I’m okay with that, given that I have roughly the same sense of humor as a 12-year-old boy. Huh huh, “peen.”
Say this fast, “Al-peen is not pronounced Al-pine”.
Ha, ha, made you say penis.
My guess is that we will make halfhearted and inconsistent efforts to pronounce both “Renault” and “Alpine” correctly and eventually will compromise by getting both wrong.
In the process we will probably rather thoroughly annoy the Sunbeam Alpine owners.
So we are getting a go fast brand with no go fast cars. We’ll see how long that lasts. Seems to me it would be smarter to enter a market with something that is popular, like a small crossover, like the Duster. If you don’t have much brand recognition, go for a popular product, but don’t missuse a nameplate to try to draw us in. The Duster is an affordable small crossover. It should sell itself.
Milwaukee resident here. For Harley’s 100th anniversary, they had a secret headliner for their big music festival. Lots of Harley guys were there, it was packed. Other Milwaukeeans showed up to what seemed likely to be a Springsteen show. Finally, the big act came on, aaaaaand….. it was Elton John. People left in droves, except a few locals who just liked Elton John.
Is Harley Davidson that out of touch with their customer base? Wow!
(Comment was placed regarding note about Elton John headlining 100th anniversary gathering. Sorry, I forgot to quote it to make this response make sense.)
Is Harley Davidson that out of touch with their customer base? Wow!
Foo Fighters and Green Day for Harley? About 200 times better than when the idiots at Harley booked Elton John for their huge 100th birthday (talk about execs not knowing their customer base). The 200,000 bikers didn’t exactly stick around.
Funny thing is everybody asks why dont we see more French cars in the USA? WELL my guess is cant read the market, usually late to the market, and the quality is usually the lower end of the market.
IMHO if you cant challenge Coke and Pepsi in the Cola Wars you need to be fighting in the fruit soda flavors or water market.
At what point does the US market finally become saturated with crossovers? If Alpine, which is essentially a completely new brand with zero name recognition as far as virtually all American drivers are concerned, shows up with a couple of crossovers, they have to know they will be facing some stiff competition from the other 5,327 crossover options already available. Why would they not want to differentiate themselves a bit?
I feel like Australia is partially to blame here. From what I can tell the Europeans think of Australia as much like a mini America in terms of car market, we love big V8s, SUVs and utes as well as long drives between cities etc. Alpine launched to much fanfare here, and Renault has the biggest market share of any of the french manufacturers here (>1% of the market), but I have literally never seen any Alpines on the road, and there is only a single one for sale anywhere in Australia online at the moment.
That being said, would they have sold more if they just sold those SUVs? Almost certainly not! Citroen has great brand recognition here, and people would buy them if they sold the right models at the right price, but they only import boring overpriced SUVs not the comfortable quirky affordable cars they are known and loved for and they sold a grand total of 296 last year (for reference 203 Ferraris were sold in the same period).
If Alpine wants a chance in the states, they need to sell the A110 alongside the SUVS, otherwise no one will even bother with them!
Sales figures for A110s here after a quick google.
2018 – 32
2019 – 35
2020 – 7
2021 – 9**Jan-Aug
Given we’ll buy all the AMG, S/RS, M products that can find their way here, approx 20% of all sales have the go fast badge on them. And it isn’t like boxters or caymans don’t sell either… Lotus products for a long time just didn’t depreciate at all. All that suggesting we love fast cars, and happy to fork out for them, and even small 2 door 2 seat pretty impractical sports cars. Apline just dropped the ball.
Every time I see a first-generation Duster – I’ve seen them in Europe, Colombia, and even on a couple of occasions in Chicago – I think, “man, that is a mighty good-looking inexpensive and practical car. 10/10 would drive.”
I’m in the camp of 100% serious, no BS A110 potential buyers. I got REAL serious about a 4C but for a multitude of reasons backed out. If I could get an A110, I would get an A110. No questions asked.
If I could buy an A110 in the US I would plunk down a deposit right now (no joke, 100% serious, please make it so and take my money). Hell, I’d be seriously interested in the tarted up R5 EV (please, for the love of cars, someone make an EV that isn’t a blob on stilts). What I am not interested in is any form of crossover. I have one now (Stelvio). It’s fine. I guess. I hope to never have another crossover so long as I live (my wife talked me into it, and if she wants another crossover that’s her business–I played ball once). Anyhow–if you’re going to come over perhaps throw the enthusiasts a bone or two and we’ll be excellent brand ambassadors. Otherwise I am just going to feel cheated and not give a damn at all.
I’ll be going to the concert in MKE this summer, but I guess I won’t be going there in my new Alpine sportscar. Too bad!
Mannn I’ve been wanting an Alpine for so long, but they are so hard to find in the states.
I’ve been wanting the A110 to come to our shores since it was announced. If it’s good enough for Gordon Murray it must be pretty great.
An EV only version would be a step down imo… but I’d still want it. I wholly agree it’s a marketing misstep to not capitalize on F1’s USA popularity and people suddenly being aware of Alpine as an F1 brand.
So Renault is coming back to the U.S. to bring us a giant steaming pile of shit we already have. Hooray.
Oh man. Renault is gonna screw up entering the US market for the second time. The people who buy SUVs are the people who joke about how bad Le Cars and Alliances were (they’re not wrong about the Alliance). They don’t care for the brand and it would take an incredibly good car at an incredibly good price for Renault to overcome the historic bad reputation it has, even if it tries entering the market disguised as Alpine.
But enthusiasts would love Alpine. They would even enjoy the idea of Renault proper going back into the American market, I bet. What those same enthusiasts don’t care about is… SUVs. How they don’t see the monumental holes in their marketing plan is beyond my comprehension.
As someone who has a moment to talk about Renaults, let me remind you that this will be the THIRD time.
This will be at least the fourth attempt, as Smith and Mabley were their licensed importers in the early 1900s.
That’s awesome info, thanks for sharing. First time I’m hearing about it!
Wasn’t there a Renault on the Titanic, too? I seem to remember waking up for a moment when it appeared halfway through some 90’s movie about the Titanic.
There was one in the movie for sure. I don’t know if they put ir there because there was one aboard the Titanic.
There was one on board but it was being privately imported by the owner (who was a passenger), whereas the firm of Smith and Mabley was licensed by Renault as an official agent and importer.
Well, the first (that I knew of – fellow Autopian mdharrel mentions early 1900s imports that I wasn’t aware of in a comment below, thanks for sharing) wasn’t much of a screw up, just an early foray into a new market that sent some cool little French cars stateside, but that didn’t really damage the company’s reputation because they didn’t really build any. Dauphines and Florides were decent little cars, and later the Renault 12 and 18 weren’t that bad, but they never sold in large enough numbers and the company wasn’t really invested in the market until they went all-in on a failing automaker (a really cool one, with an important asset in the Jeep brand, but failing nonetheless). But the spectacular way they screwed up the AMC takeover/American revamp by completely misreading the market is what I’m thinking of as the percursor to this new plan. They teased cool cars like the US-spec Espace while selling awful cars like the Alliance and Encore instead. They made bland Medallions and Premiers when they could have capitalized on the “quirky European brand” aura by simply selling 21s and 25s. Now they’re doing it all over again.
Beat me to it, my dad had a Dauphine, Renault had the second biggest import sales behind VW in the late 50s, they faded out pretty quickly.
Yeah, “second biggest import after VW in the fifties” wasn’t much of a slice of the pie. But those cars they were selling weren’t actively tarnishing the brand’s image for decades to come. That was the result of a dreadful 80s lineup and the lack of decent post sales assistance (which shitty Alliances and Encores badly needed, much like their shitty European twins 9 & 11).
I make an exception for the Le Car because the American public was just wrong about it and it was their loss that they didn’t embrace it (I’ll die on this hill). The Renault 5 was a great little car that looked awesome, had great fuel economy, and came with reliable engines that lasted in production for decades and were stuffed in everything from early Matras to late Quatrelles like my daily driver. Those engines are super easy to fix, can take near-Toyota levels of abuse and neglect, and there’s parts in production to this very day. And they’re super fun to drive even with anemic sub-1 litre engines with a power figure smaller than my age (and I’m not that old). Really, you guys have no idea.
I’m with you on the virtues of the Cléon-Fonte/Sierra/C-Type engine, inasmuch as I drove one to work today.
I daily drive one, and have been learning to wrench on it simply by trawling online forums for knowledge, videos/photos of maintenance procedures, etc. It’s a wonderful little engine. Mine’s the C1E variant 688 7/12, the 34hp, 1108cc that came with later Renault 4 GTLs. Yearly inspection was yesterday (passed without annotations), and it was a hair short of 10.000km since last year’s inspection, but a lot of guys in the local Quatrelle community drive 30.000+ km yearly in their cars with just the bare minimum maintenance.
Mine’s the 1289cc C1H 810, the 56 hp version used in the Volvo 66 GL. We, ah, don’t have inspections here…
Oh man, no inspections is such a dream. But then again, for the second year in a row I spent less than €200 getting it up to code (and this year I even splurged on non-essential things). The Renault 4 is just a dream car to own in my neck of the woods, where there’s a huge community and a virtually endless supply of spare parts.
Love the Volvo 66, by the way! I don’t like CVTs but the 88 gets a pass.
haha, that 88 was a typo, just noticing it now.
But enthusiasts would love
AlpineAlfa Romeo. They would even enjoy the idea of RenaultFiat back into the American market, I bet. What those same enthusiasts don’t care about is… SUVs. How they don’t see the monumental holes in their marketing plan is beyond my comprehension….
As someone who currently has an Alfa, and did have an Abarth 500, I’m totally one of the dozens that would buy an A110 if they came here.
Ha, as someone who also currently owns an Alfa and a 500 (wife’s car), I too would be among the dozens who would purchase an A110.
Well… Harsh but fair. Although as someone who has owned an Alfa Romeo in the past, the comparison feels a bit like a personal insult. Even my worst Renault ever (a dilapidated 89 Espace) was more dependable than the Alfa.
My own theory for why Alfa’s return to the US has largely failed is because they thought “luxury ONLY” and couldn’t spare a thought for the lowly “alfisti” enthusiast. I predict Alpine will probably suffer the same fate if they go this route.
I wanted to buy an Alfa with 3 pedals ever since Marchionne anounced their return to our shores.
The 4C only came with DSG, which is somewhat understandable for a low production niche car, but when Giulia came along I was sure I’d get mine, since the 3-pedal version exists. Alas they couldn’t be bothered to bring them here (not even the Quadrifoglio comes with a clutch here), so I’m rowing my own in Volkswagens.
Enthusiasts are a brand’s most effective ambassadors, especially for “comeback” brands that have been missing from a region for half a century. Why would the general public buy a car from a brand they’ve never heard of, unless their weird friend who wrenches every weekend in their garage and “knows cars” starts telling them about it?
Theres no excitement in an electric crossover. Its a waste of the brand name. Bring it over as a Renault or a new name. Theres no benefit to making something in a new market opposite of what your brand is known for.
Totally agree. Why spend all the effort and money to launch Alpine or Renault in the US with more boring cars? This same parent company owns Nissan and Mitsubishi, two established brands in desperate need of product. A new electric crossover or two would do wonders for either one.
VinFast used to rebadge the Chevy Spark. Perhaps they should start with some other cheap small car to fill a niche that others are abandoning
Rant is proper, spot on.
I’m excited for Alpine. We desperately need another 3-row SUV from a brand most people have never heard of.
I’m guessing someone at Ticketmaster had an ‘aha’ moment and thought that a tie up with Harley Davidson might burnish their image. Anybody want to wager on whether this will be a COVID super spreader event?
I feel obligated to note that American Idiot is available on Vinyl and sounds even better for it. Also, Single Ended Triode amps can be bought cheap and make guitars and horns sound alive (like magically alive).
Got a link? I’m absolutely an idiot when it comes to audio equipment, but my cheapie hybrid tube amp is about to die, and I’m after a replacement if I know what I’m looking for.