Rumours of the Alpine A110’s death have - thankfully - been exaggerated. The Dieppe factory which builds the mid-engined sports car was thought to be under threat from Renault’s multi-billion package of spending cuts, but it’s since emerged that no factories in France have been earmarked for imminent closure.
So, Dieppe is safe. The A110 will complete its seven-year production run, which is due to end in 2024. The news beyond that, however, is less rosy.
In a press release, Renault said that that it is mulling over a “reconversion of the Dieppe plant at the end of the production of the Alpine A110”. It’s not clear what the facility might be tasked with building after that point, but the use of the word “reconversion” suggests something very different from the conventional mid-engined sports car it makes now.
The French brand’s cost-saving measures include reducing production from four million units to around 3.3 by 2024, which will likely involve the loss of 15,000 jobs. The Renault, Nissan Mitsubishi alliance - which looked in danger of being split apart not so long ago - will be relied upon more heavily, with a greater degree of platform and parts sharing going on to increase profitability.
12,500 jobs will go at Nissan, a large chunk of those losses triggered by the closure of the Barcelona plant used to build the Navara. Like Renault, Nissan is looking to cut production by around 20 per cent.
There’ll be an even greater emphasis on crossovers and SUVs than before, but pleasingly, sports cars will still be part of the agenda. In a presentation, Nissan marked the ‘sports’ category as one of its ‘focus segments’, and gave us our first look at the 370Z-replacing ‘400Z’ last week.