Anglo-French alliance ends as Renault takes full control of Alpine sports car

renault alpine sports car project continues without caterham 2012 a110 50 concept

After a brief spat with British partner Caterham, Renault has taken over the project to launch a new sports car under the legendary Alpine name in 2016.

The French carmaker announced that it has purchased Caterham’s stake in Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, the joint venture created to manage the development of the car, as well as production at the former Alpine (pronounced al-peen) factory in Dieppe, France.

The project will still be somewhat autonomous, taking the name Société des Automobiles Alpine, and still plans to launch its sports car in 2016. A press release said Caterham will continue to develop a sports car on its own, although other collaborations between the British carmaker and Renault haven’t been ruled out.

The car – dubbed “Berlinette of the 21st century” by its maker – has already generated plenty of interest. Alpine gained notoriety with cars like the A110 and performance versions of Renault models. The brand’s current stewards say customers have already tried to reserve the new car, despite a total lack of information.

Renault hasn’t revealed anything about the new Alpine except its 2016 launch date, but the car is expected to be a rival for the Porsche Cayman. Expect a compact, lithe chassis, an engine that’s powerful but not outrageous, and uniquely French styling.

While the sports car will remain under wraps for the next two years, the Alpine brand itself will stay in the public eye. An Alpine race team launched last year, and will again try to capture the LMP2 class title at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.