Why is the current Alpine A110 not selling better in the world?
The rebirth of the Alpine brand is a true miracle. In the middle of the last decade, French car manufacturers resigned themselves to the idea of marketing only wise family vehicles. Tired (like PSA) of going from failure to failure with each attempt to sell daring models (Renault Avantime, Renault Wind …), the Renault group nevertheless dared to resuscitate the brand dear to Jean Rédélé to attack Porsche head-on. Even more unbelievably, the modern Alpine A110 quickly established itself as an extraordinary sports car. But in 2020, the Alpine A110 only sold 1,526 copies worldwide. In the same year, the much more expensive and elitist Porsche 911 claimed more than 34,000 units sold on the planet. Admittedly, the mythical German is also sold in gigantic markets like that of the United States (where the Alpine will never put its wheels). But how to explain that sales of the Alpine recorded a decline of 70% between 2019 and 2020, after only a full year of marketing?
The obsession with the badge?
With a style at least as strong as that of its best direct competitors (Porsche 718 Cayman, Audi TT-S / RS, Toyota Supra, BMW Z4 …), the Alpine A110 has nothing to envy its rivals in terms of driving pleasure and performance. With its dynamic behavior onions (in basic version as in variant 110S), it can even teach the best German women in terms of damping and agility on a small country road. The Frenchwoman also benefits from a comfortable and well-finished interior despite an assumed lightness of design, linked to the very foundations of its philosophy. With its entry fee of € 58,000 and its very low ecological penalty (€ 740 in 2021), it is also one of the cheapest sports cars in the category. So what does it lack to sell itself better? A badge as famous as that of Porsche among sports car customers? Are prospects afraid of investing € 60,000 in a less well-established brand than historical references? The first feedback on the residual value of the second-hand A110 would prove, however, that the latter is at least as popular as a Porsche.
Is there hope in French sports cars?
For those who have succeeded in convincing the Renault management board of the viability of the Alpine project, there is probably something to give up hope. If even a sports car as successful as the A110 does not sell, how could a French manufacturer achieve the feat of making money by daring to offer a product of this kind? In the current context where it is becoming more and more difficult to sell a sports car because of ever more drastic standards, it is difficult to see a French brand embarking on such a risky project. Peugeot, a brand managed by Carlos Tavares who had pushed so hard for the return of Alpine when he was still officiating for Renault, has just announced that we should not wait for a sporty version of the last 308. And the coupe sporty RCZ does not exist for a long time in the range of the mark with the lion.
In his recent Renaulution plan, Renault’s new boss Luca de Meo still has high hopes for the Alpine brand. It will be able to count on a range of three models (100% electric) by 2025, with a sports car, a sporty city car and a compact SUV. The new boss wants to carry the image of Alpine higher than ever, which now represents the colors of the whole group in Formula 1. But three years after the arrival of this providential A110, the best French sports car for ages immemorial, the relative commercial failure of the automobile really has something to demoralize the most optimistic enthusiast.