Ghosn confident of developing $3,000 model; to visit Bajaj

Ghosn confident of developing $3,000 model; to visit Bajaj

Japan: Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., said on Wednesday he was confident of being able to develop a $3,000 (about Rs1.2 lakh) car in India with proposed partner Bajaj Auto Ltd. The Renault-Nissan alliance has been studying production of a $3,000 car to rival Tata Motors Ltd’s $2,500 car in the Indian market, but Ghosn said no decision has been reached yet.

“We will go ahead with it if it’s possible," Ghosn told a news conference at the Tokyo Motor Show.

“But we are confident, because somebody else is already doing it." Ghosn added that the partners would aim to launch the car to market in 2010, so as not to fall too far behind Tata.

Ghosn said he was scheduled to visit Bajaj in India next Monday to discuss the project, adding that most features of the car had already been decided. “It’s going to mainly be made by them, with our support," he said.

Last week, a senior executive at Bajaj, India’s No.2 motorcycle maker, said he expected the feasibility study to be ready in “six to eight weeks".

Nissan had said last month it would decide whether to develop a $3,000 car next year, though it could not say when such a model would be ready for the market.

Tata Motors has grabbed the industry’s attention with its bold plan to launch a “people’s car" priced at Rs1 lakh, or $2,500. A prototype is due to be shown at an auto show in India early next year.

Tata has said its car would be a four-door model with a 600cc rear engine for both petrol and diesel versions, using moulded plastic and modern adhesives, with an initial production run of 250,000- 300,000 units.

Nissan is also working on developing a separate family of entry-level cars benchmarked in price against Renault’s popular €5,000 (about Rs2.8 lakh) Logan model.