NEW DELHI, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Renault SA (RENA.PA) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) are confident a proposed alliance with India’s Bajaj Auto Ltd (BJAT.BO) for an ultra low-cost car will continue to advance in a favourable manner, the companies said on Monday.
A team from Renault-Nissan visited a Bajaj plant in Chakan near Pune on Monday, and met with Bajaj engineers.
“After our discussions in Paris, I am here to further review the proposed alliance for the ultra low-cost car project with Bajaj,” Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault and Nissan said in a statement.
“I am confident that this project will continue to advance in a favourable direction for both Bajaj and Renault Nissan.”
Renault and Nissan have been in talks with Bajaj, India’s No. 2 motorbike maker, over the feasibility of building a low-cost car to take on Tata Motors’ (TAMO.BO) (TTM.N) $2,500 car scheduled for launch in 2008 and aimed at motorbike users.
Ghosn told Reuters last week the proposed car could come in the three brands’ badges and that he hoped for a 2010 launch.
The car — whose engine, transmission, material and size have already been established — would be tested for India and perhaps tuned for export markets as well, he had said.
Bajaj would add value through its “product innovation and competitive operations”, Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said.
“Such an alliance would be promisingly placed to develop a unique platform of ‘lite’ vehicles,” he said on Monday.
Earlier, Nissan and India’s Ashok Leyland Ltd (ASOK.BO) said they would invest about $500 million in three joint ventures in India to make light commercial vehicles, engines and other drivetrain components. For details, double-click [nDEL286293]
Nissan and Renault also have an alliance to make 400,000 vehicles from 2009 in India with Mahindra & Mahindra (MAHM.BO).
Renault and Mahindra have a separate venture to make Renault’s popular Logan sedan in India.
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