Sao Paulo: French car maker Renault SA is to unveil 12 new models next year—including several low-cost autos—in an aggressive global strategy to turn around stagnating sales, the company said on Wednesday.
Company chief executive Carlos Ghosn said Renault was also looking at making a new budget car in India costing just $3,000 (Rs1.19 lakh).
“The big question is what will have to be done to bring this car up to export quality. It will have to be modified, sure—and what will be the cost of these modifications so it’s viable?” Ghosn said in Sao Paulo.
Game plan: Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn says Brazil, Russia, China and India are strategic markets for it. At 15%, its sales in non-European regions are showing the strongest growth for the French car maker.
He added that, “logically, Brazil would be a natural market” for such a car.
Later on Wednesday, Ghosn—who was born in Brazil—was to unveil Renault’s first car made outside of Europe to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The vehicle, the Sandero, is being built in a Brazilian factory for the national market and for export to neighbouring South American countries.
The French auto group already brought out seven new models last year.
A senior Renault executive said Renault’s worldwide sales so far this year “are staying practically stable compared with 2006, with a drop of 0.1%.”
Non-European sales—accounting for a third of the total—are strongest, with nearly 15% growth.
In Brazil, sales have jumped 43%, making it one of the top performing countries for the company, even though it holds just 3% of the market.
More than 73,000 of its cars are expected to have been sold in Brazil by the end of the year.
Brazil “is one of the strategic markets (for Renault) for the future, along with Russia, China and India,” Ghosn said.
Looking to the future, the head of Renault—who also heads Japan’s Nissan Motor Co.—said he saw a world in which cars would not rely almost exclusively on petroleum for energy. Brazil, for instance, has widespread use of ethanol, a combustible alcohol produced from sugar cane.
“I believe in a division of the world market, and in the differentiation between countries and types of automobiles. I think that in the cities there will be more use of an urban electric car for commuting, for shopping, etc.,” he said.
Without putting a timeline on that vision, he estimated demand for such a car would end up filling 20% of the market, with motorists in developed countries being the first to take them up.