The partnership between Renault and Caterham to co-develop and produce a pair of affordable sports cars could reportedly be wound up before the cars even hit the road, according to a UK report.
Autocar claims the French-British joint venture that was announced less than 18 months ago will be cancelled, despite the fruits of the project – two lightweight, two-seat sports cars from Caterham and reborn French division Alpine – still being more than 24 months away from their planned launch date.
The publication gives no reason for the rumoured split, though claims “tensions … have been rife” between the duo since the project was allegedly delayed to accommodate a redesign of Alpine’s version.
Both Renault and Caterham have declined to comment on the suggestion of a break-up.
Autocar says the two sports cars are still on track to launch by the end of 2016, though suggests they may now share fewer common parts than originally planned.
Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this month in Geneva, the man responsible for creating the 21st century Alpine, Renault corporate senior design vice president Laurens van den Acker, said the French brand’s car was “progressing very well” and confirmed the design was “as good as finished”.
Though he denied claims the project was running behind schedule, van den Acker hinted that he wouldn’t count his chickens before they hatched.
“Sports cars are fragile. There’s always 10 reasons not to do them. That’s why we’re keeping a low profile.”