Sunday, November 8, 2009

Renault bullish on India; committed to launching low cost car

Despite having hit troubled waters, French carmaker Renault today reiterated its commitment to driving its low-cost small car into India.

The car manufacturer which has partnered with the country's second largest two-wheeler maker, Bajaj Auto, is reportedly involved in tussle over a number of issues, including the price point and branding.

The company had initially planned to launch the low cost car at 2,500 dollars in 2011.

''The entry price point, which will be 2,500 dollars is still very important for the market, not only for India, but also for lot of emerging markets. We have to bring in the car with basic features, basic functionality at a very affordable price,'' Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn told reporters here on the sidelines of World Economic Forum, organised by CII.

However, Mr Ghosn declined to comment, if the proposed small car will stick to earlier announced price point of 2,500 dollars.

''..(whether) it is going to be 2,500 or 2,800 or 3,000 dollars (not sure)...I am stuck into making customers happy and satisfied.

But it is not going to be very far of...,'' he said.

When asked about the problems being faced by the company in dealing with its various partners, Mr Ghosn said ''Yes, I am not saying our partnerships are going exactly the way we wanted them to go...We have been questioned by some performances, by some things, but also yes, we are talking with our partners how to overcome these issues,'' he added.

He admitted that fall in sales of Logan, a product of the company's joint venture with India's leading utility vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra, is a cause of concern, saying, ''we are in talks with M&M on ways to overcome the situation.'' Speaking about the company's Chennai facility which it jointly owns with Japanese car maker Nissan, he said the facility is likely to start production early next year.

However, Mr Ghosn remained bullish on the Indian market, saying it (the Indian car market) is expected to raise from two million to units per year to six million in the next 10 years.

''I am very optimistic about the growth of the market in India.

When you move from two million cars a year to six million cars a year, this is very appealing to global carmakers,'' he said.
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