You may have heard of the French car brand Alpine. They took over the branding for parent company Renault's Formula 1 team. They also build the Porsche Cayman-rivaling Alpine A110 sports car, which would probably feature in a Mount Rushmore of new forbidden fruit cars one can't buy in America.
Alpine is not bringing over the A110, but they are planning to make an American debut in 2027 or 2028. Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi described the plan to Automotive News. Alpine plans to launch with two electric crossovers, one midsize and one larger one. The vehicles would be positioned to take on the Porsche Macan (soon to be an EV) and the Cayenne Coupe. Other Alpine projects like an electric A110 and a hotter version of the new Renault 5 EV hatchback would not be brought over.
Why is Alpine coming to America?
The business case is clear. Renault is plotting a Polestar-style expansion for its performance brand. Currently, Alpine only sells the A110 and fewer than 4,000 of those per year. Alpine wants to sell 150,000 units per year globally by 2050. Selling SUVs in America is a great way to get there.
What will an Alpine electric SUV look like?
That's less clear. Alpine does not currently build electric cars or sport utility vehicles. According to the report, the brand has not yet picked a platform for the new SUVs. The platform could come from Renault's alliance partner Nissan. Alpine could also look outside the company to brands like Volvo/Polestar.
Should we get excited about Alpine coming to America?
Yes. The track record of French car manufacturers in America is admittedly not great. None have tried to return since Renault sold out its share of AMC to Chrysler in the late 1980s (the Stellantis merger scuttled plans to bring Peugeot over). But France produces more than its fair share of quirky, exciting cars. And more options being on the market — especially more premium sporty options — is a win for customers and enthusiasts.