Carlos Ghosn, the chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan said Renault would be a big player in the ultra-low cost segment of cars. He was speaking to the press on the sidelines of the ongoing Paris Motor Show. “We are going to be a big player in ultra-low cost cars, thanks to India. We are still there,” he said. This statement comes at a time when Nissan said, just a day before, that it had given up on the idea of making a car in this segment with Bajaj Auto.
Bajaj had gone ahead on its own and unveiled the RE60, a four-wheeler upgrade to its three-wheeled autorickshaws, at the Auto Expo in Delhi in January this year. “We saw the Bajaj product, but that’s not what we want,” said Ghosn. “We work and plan with our partners, but in this discovery, there can be failures. But sometimes, failures can be good.”
Though he did not say it, Datsun could be the brand that heralds a new line of low-cost cars from the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The Datsun brand which belongs to Nissan has been recently revived to introduce value-for-money cars in emerging markets and the first two cars to wear this nameplate are expected by 2014. Both cars are expected to be priced under Rs 4 lakh, taking Nissan into a space that is currently ruled by the likes of Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors.
Ghosn was especially enthused by the reaction to the Dost, a light commercial vehicle that Alliance produces with Ashok Leyland. “On the other hand, our joint venture with Ashok Leyland has been successful, as can be seen with the Dost, which has become the leader in its segment so soon.”