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Christopher Bruce2012-06-19 14:47:56

Renault Continues to Consider New Luxury Brand

The closest that Renault currently offers to a large sedan is the Latitude

At the beginning of the month, French newspaper Les Echos reported that RenaultRenaultRenaultFrance, 1898 > present189 models
6115 photos
17 videos
is considering launching a new luxury brand aimed mostly at China where French luxury goods are highly valued. The new brand is rumored to be called Initiale Paris. It is also considering relaunching the AlpineAlpineAlpineFrance, 1955 > 199414 models
222 photos
brand for sports cars.

Now, Renault's Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares is confirming that the brand is considering the new brands. 

"You need to be competitive across the world. That's why we have been managing the change from a European-focused company toward a global carmaker," said Tavares.

According to Tavares, Renault has been working on an upscale sedan based on the Mercedes E-ClassE-Class Gen.5Mercedes-Benz E-Class Gen.5Germany, 2009 > present488 versions
755 photos
since February. 

Renault has been facing declining sales in Europe where it earns 65% of its income. It is attempting to diversify to new markets, especially China. It expects a 7% drop in sales in 2012 and has had five consecutive drops in annual sales.

Instead, Renault is trying to expand to Russia, North Africa and China. It controls DaciaDaciaDaciaRomania, 1966 > present11 models
518 photos
3 videos
, which sells cars primarily to Central Europe; it recently purchased AvtoVAZVAZVAZRussian Federation, 1966 > present8 models
47 photos
4 videos
that it will market to Russia, and it plans to build a new factory in Algeria. 

"We may have one day a luxury brand. That would help from a profitability standpoint because everybody's always looking at VWVolkswagenVolkswagenGermany, 1938 > present98 models
9787 photos
31 videos
and what AudiAudiAudiGermany, 1909 > present83 models
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represents for the VW group," said Tavares.

The only problem with Renault adding a premium brand aimed at China is that it will be competing with itself. Its partner Nissan is doing everything it can to establish Infiniti as a premium marque in China. It even went so far as to move its headquarters there. 

The revival of the Alpine brand is much more tenuous. To rebuild it, Renault would need to find a partner, and the market for sports cars is relatively small. 

The decision to create the new brands will not be finalized until the end of the year. 

Renault Contemplating Launching Luxury Brand

Source: Automotive News Europe

Safrane Initiale ParisSafrane Initiale Paris
V 6
181 cu in
Top Speed
130 mph
4, Automatic
Maximum power
167 hp @ 5500 rpm
Saloon (sedan)
Fuel consumption (combined)
17.55 US MPG
annual ownership cost
$ 1.879




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