Exclusive: Fernandes In £250m Alpine Deal
The man dubbed "Asia's Sir Richard Branson" is close to sealing a £250m joint venture with a major European car-maker to revive one of the industry's best-known marques.
I understand that Tony Fernandes, the owner of Caterham, is in advanced discussions with Renault-Nissan, the French-based automotive giant, about a deal to produce a new Alpine road car.
People close to the French company say the joint venture has been agreed in outline with both sides to own equal stakes and cars likely to be produced under both the Caterham and Renault names.
The deal is understood to have been slated to be announced at last week's Paris Motor Show, but is now due to be presented to Renault-Nissan's works council on Monday before being announced in the coming weeks.
The Renault Alpine is one of the industry's most venerable marques, with the A-110 model celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
An unidentified concept vehicle was unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year.
Renault executives have said previously that a resurrection of the Alpine would require mass appeal in the US and Chinese markets to be commercially viable.
The joint venture with Mr Fernandes, the Malaysian who founded the Air Asia airline, comes at a difficult time for France's car industry, with its biggest companies squeezed between the might of the German and South Korean manufacturers.