In 1976, Renault decided to attack the American market. For this, he forged a partnership with the AMC brand to distribute the R5 which became “Le Car” on the other side of the Atlantic. A small failure because Americans are not ready for small city cars.
AMC is not doing well and the management takes control and creates a range from its French models adapted to American requirements: R9 and R11.
The R21 Nevada will quickly follow, becoming the Medallion. But this is not enough. America wants the sedan, the top of the range; Renault will offer him.
Giugiaro at work
Robert Opron, designer of Renault, will create a design studio in the USA, in California, in the premises of AMC. Another team, that of Italdesign in Turin with Giorgetto Giugiaro works together in order to be able to choose the best project.
Finally, the work will be shared; Italdesign imposes the exterior style with a bow and stern with significant overhangs but a Cx of 0.31.
The interior is the American work which avoids the pitfall of a European design. The dashboard is massive and the interior is equipped with deep seats.
Fashion is patchwork
AMC-Renault is building a new factory in Bramalea (Ontario, Canada) to produce the Premier.
A car that must be built with parts already produced without giving too much of a European cachet; the platform comes from the slightly enlarged R21 and the doors are taken from the R21 and R25.
The wiring is identical to the 21; the locks and the remote are from Neiman. Aesthetically, the Premier deceives unless you consider its profile, which is reminiscent of something…
The Premier was a range
Presented at the North American auto show in Detroit in January 1987, the car began to be marketed in two versions: an LX and an ES. The ES is the tall version, fitted with the 3-litre, 150 hp PRV V6 and ZF automatic gearbox; the LX receives an AMC 2.5 l 4-cylinder and an automatic gearbox.
An intermediate DL version was to receive the 4 cylinders with a manual gearbox. The equipment, in addition to the seats covered in velvet, was rich with the presence of an on-board computer.
The DL will never be marketed. A two-door version in 1989 and a station wagon for 1990 were planned.
A project that takes on water
In November 1986, the CEO of Renault, Georges Besse, was assassinated by Action Directe; Raymond Lévy succeeds him and redistributes the cards. Renault’s financial situation is catastrophic because of its European performance and Raymond Lévy is far from sharing the agency’s ambitions in the United States.
So, the AMC-Renault subsidiary was quickly sold to Chrysler in March 1987; Chrysler only keeps Jeep and Eagle.
AMC and Renault cars disappear from the landscape after the production of 200 Premier. It was Eagle that marketed the Premier, then Dodge under the Monaco name from 1990.