Renault DeZir Concept Heads to Paris, Angry

It is human nature to attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects. If you think about it, you can probably put a “face” on just about any car and truck currently on the market… which leads me to Renault’s Paris Show concept, the DeZir electric sportscar shown, above, and I think we can draw an obvious conclusion: this car is angry.

If the Renault DeZir were to suddenly have the breath of Pixar-style life breathed into it, the slippery French coupe would indeed have plenty to be angry about. More, after the jump.

If you’re a Renault enthusiast, you already have your own reasons for rolling your eyes at the DeZir concept. It’s slick and it’s slinky and it’s probably fast, but you can tell just by looking that this is NOT the Alpine successor we were promised (when that brand was discontinued) in 1995. For the uninitiated, this (below) is an Alpine.

When the Alpine 310 and Alpine 610 models were introduced, they looked like nothing else on the road. They were distinctive street cars, and fast, agile rally cars that tore up forests and won races all around the world, and Alpine was a storied marque (or, “aspirational brand” in today’s marketing lingo). The new DeZir is, well… pretty?

There you go, the new Renault DeZir concept is a pretty car (above). But it looks like an Audi R8 (below).

No matter how pretty the DeZir is, you can’t call it a distinctive car. That would be fine, however, to non-Renault enthusiasts or even Renault fans too young to have a meaningful recollection of the Reagan era.

No, the problem is that the Renault DeZir concept is a plainly derivative marketing exercise that is being trotted out by Renault to “help promote” the company’s all-new range of production-ready battery-powered models – fully production-ready EV versions of the Fluence sedan, the Twizy city car, and the Kangoo van.

You read that right, Renault will be launching 3 new, production-ready EVs at this year’s Paris show, where it intends to focus the eyes of the automotive media on the new DeZir concept car.

In an age where the fully-electric Nissan LEAF is already starting price wars, months before the first example hits the streets, Renault doesn’t think an electric Fluence, Twizy, or Kangoo is enough – on its own – to merit the spotlight. This is a strange concept to me, as I would think being one of the first (if not the first) major player to bring out a variety of EVs aimed squarely at the heart of the automotive market would be a HUGE deal. Why isn’t Renault pounding its corporate chest on the rooftops, shouting about its new EVs?

No idea.

If I were a betting type of guy, however, I might guess that the electronic systems Renault has in place inside  its trio of EVs borrow heavily from sister-company Nissan‘s LEAF EV, and Renault might not want nationalistic French buyers to make the connection. The DeZir, then, might be less about getting people to check out the new electric Renaults (which Parisian show-goers will do, anyway) and more about keeping the automotive press from looking too closely at the more pedestrian EVs on display, lest 1 or 2 of them start writing about all the hot new Nissan technology to be found under the hood.

All speculation and conjecture, of course… but it just sounds right, doesn’t it?  If that does turn out to be the case, it’s no wonder the DeZir’s face is so angry: the DeZir deserves better, and the Renault faithful deserve a new Alpine.

PHOTO CREDITS:  Renault-Nissan, Audi.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.