Mumbai: French car maker Renault SA says the company’s joint ventures with both Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) and Bajaj Auto Ltd are on track, denying a report that its tie-up with M&M was on shaky ground.
“There are no issues related to product plan and strategy,” Marc Nassif, head of Renault’s Indian operations, said in an interview.
Renault is looking to replace M&M in their struggling Logan joint venture, The Economic Times reported last week, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The venture, in which M&M owns 51%, was struggling to sustain volumes due to uncompetitive pricing, said the report.
Nassif said the company is, in fact, hoping that things will turn around in a few years, and is looking forward to future products the partnership with M&M will pave the way for.
“There is no breach between M&M and Renault. We had to slow down due to the overall slowdown in the economy, but our commitment to India is still very strong,” he said.
A decline in sales is not worrying, Nassif said, adding that the company was planning a complete facelift for the Logan. The company sold around 2,000 cars a month in its first year in India, but now manages just 600-700 units a month.
“When we went to Brazil, it took up 10 years to become successful there. We want to talk about India in the same way in a few years. We are not looking at India on a short-term basis, but with a long-term view,” Nassif said.
Nassif also denied that Renault may be in talks with Bajaj to replace M&M in the venture—a stance Bajaj agrees with.
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, said: “Coming away from two and three wheelers and making a sedan is going to hit us so hard that we really cannot afford it. There are too many auto makers in the world already. We have no intention of joining them.”
A sedan may be out of the question, but Bajaj’s tie-up with Renault to make a small car is very much on the cards. “It is work in progress,” said Nassif.