Bajaj Small Car: Ending all speculations on specifications of the Ultra-Low Cost (ULC) car and differences between the French car maker and Bajaj Auto, Renault-Nissan announced on Tuesday that they have reached an agreement clarifying the role of both the partners regarding the launch and post-launch details. The small car to be developed by Bajaj Auto in alliance with Renault-Nissan is stated to be even smaller than Maruti Suzuki’s Alto. As Renault Asia Africa Management Committee Executive Vice- President Katsumi Nakamura tells PTI – “The car that we are discussing with Bajaj is smaller than the small car. A small car like Maruti Suzuki’s Alto or a 1.2 litre car is not on the table for discussion of Renault Bajaj. We are discussing a smaller car than the small car.” The small car is now slated to be launched in 2012.
New Car is Cost and Fuel Efficient: As Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn told at an impromptu conference organised on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit on Tuesday, “We now have a clear definition as to who does what. The new car will be competitive both in terms of cost and fuel efficiency. The solution that our teams have found will address both.” Ghosn had stated that design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing will be handled by Bajaj Auto, while marketing and selling will be looked after by Renault-Nissan alliance. Yet more significant condition says the car will have no Bajaj brand on it. The ULC car, initially supposed to hit the market by 2011, was delayed by a year due to differences between the partners over pricing and design. At present, the cheapest car available on the Indian roads is the entry-level Tata Nano, priced around Rs 1.34 lakh. This is followed by the Maruti 800 at Rs 2.2 lakh.
Car For emerging market: Mr Ghosn further said that the company would look to export this car, especially to the emerging markets. “We have a good list as to where Bajaj is exporting its two-wheelers,” he further added that Renault-Nissan plans to soon import other cars across the product portfolio in India, besides manufacturing new models at the Chennai plant. Nissan currently sells the Teana sedan and X-Trail sports-utility vehicle in India, both of which are brought in as completely built units. The Renault-Nissan chief, on his India visit, met two Indian partners of the company — Ashok Leyland, with which it has an agreement for manufacturing commercial vehicles, and Bajaj Auto, to finalize plans on the much discussed new small car. He, however, said that he could not meet Mr Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra. Renault has an alliance with Mahindra, under which it manufacturers and markets the Logan. He added that he also met a few ministers for discussions on policy issues.
Bajaj focus on fuel economy: Subsequently, Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj had made it public that the small car will have 70-80 per cent of the parts common with its two and three wheelers. Initially, when the project was announced in 2007 Renault wanted the car to compete with Tata’s Nano but Bajaj wanted to focus on delivering fuel economy, which delayed the design and thus the launch. Expected fuel efficiency is projected to be around 35 km/litre. In 2008 Nissan joined the project and a tripartite joint venture was formed with Bajaj holding 50 per cent stake and Renault & Nissan having 25 per cent each and envisaging to produce 400,000 units of the small car annually.Share