This is sad news, at least to enthusiasts with a rally bent and a predilection for French cars, Renault has just announced that is has canceled its plans to revive the Alpine division. This seems to be all part and parcel of the current economic downturn affecting high-performance vehicles harder than more bread and butter lines. As Renault has to focus their attention on more mainstream volume cars, a lot of performance vehicles are being tabled until things mellow out.
The French automaker was planning to produce an all-new Alpine model by 2010, but those plans have officially been canceled in order to stem the red ink. Renault COO Patrick Pelata referred to the cancellation as a direct result of the economic slump, stating the project was a “casualty” of the times.
The now-departed Alpine model would have been a mid-engine two-seater, aimed at cars like Mazda’s MX-5, and therefor, will be pre-missed by gearheads the world over.
Renault’s first version of the Alpine was a rear-engined giant killer of a car. Amazingly small, seemingly knee high when you were standing next to it, it took the rally world by storm, and also made a big impression on the streets of the world when Renault decided to put out a road going version.