1983: Renault Alliance offers French engineering at Wisconsin prices
Renault and American Motors bring the price of European technology down to earth
After Chrysler was deemed “too big to fail” and got federal government-backed loans in 1979, wobbly (and just small enough to fail) American Motors got the news from Washington, D.C.: Drop dead! So, Renault (then owned by the French government) stepped in with enough francs to rescue AMC, and the Renault Alliance went into production in Kenosha, Wisconsin, starting in 1982 for the 1983 model year.
Based on the Renault 9 and 11, the Alliance achieved excellent fuel economy and sold at a good price, but American car shoppers seemed unenthusiastic. Here’s a television advertisement pitching the Alliance as “European technology built in America.”