No confirmation on alliance with Bajaj for ULC car: Nissan


Two days after Bajaj Auto (BAL) showcased a mini four-wheeler that the company was initially supposed to manufacture for the Renault-Nissan alliance, the Japanese firm today said "there is no confirmation on that business".

On January 3, BAL had unveiled its RE60 vehicle powered by a 200-cc rear-mounted engine, which is aimed at attracting three-wheeler customers, and said the Franco-Japanese alliance will take a decision on sourcing the product from it after seeing it at the Auto Expo here.

"The alliance with Bajaj was for an ultra-low cost [ULC] vehicle... There is no confirmation on that business," Nissan Motor Company Executive Vice-President Andy Palmer (Global Planning and Programme Management) told PTI.

He declined to make further comment on the matter.

As per an agreement with the Renault-Nissan alliance, BAL was supposed to develop and manufacture the vehicle and sell it under the badge of the alliance.

In January, 2008, BAL had unveiled its concept passenger car with an expected price of USD 3,000. It had partnered Renault-Nissan for the ULC car project.

The ULC was first scheduled to hit the roads in India in 2011, but was delayed due to differences between the partners on pricing and design.

While Renault-Nissan wanted to price the car at around USD 2,500, Bajaj insisted on lowering the overall cost of ownership.

In 2010, Renault-Nissan announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Bajaj Auto to take forward their ULC car project.

As per the MoU, design, engineering, manufacturing and supply base expertise for the ULC would be executed by Bajaj with the support of the alliance, while branding, marketing and selling would be done by Renault-Nissan.

However, while unveiling the RE60 on Tuesday, BAL Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj had said if the Renault-Nissan alliance was interested in the vehicle, BAL could manufacture the RE60 for them with design modifications to sell under their brand name.

"They have not seen the product yet. They have seen only on virtual media. They will see it in the Auto-Expo. If they are disinterested in the four-wheeler, they are free to walk away," Bajaj had said.