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Renault to launch small car in 3 months

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Sensing an increasing demand for smaller cars in India, French car maker Renault is planning to introduce a V-platform model within three months from now.

With complete focus on the the domestic market, the plan is to roll out the small car at the Auto Expo in January next year, according to Sudhir Rao, deputy managing director, Renault India.

“The car will be positioned between (Maruti’s) Swift and (Nissan’s) Micra,” he told Business Standard, on the sidelines of a seminar organised by Confederation of India Industry.

Rao refused to share further details.

Sources in the company say the small car is being tested at the Renault-Nissan’s factory on the city’s outskirts at Oragadam, where the Renault-Nissan joint venture partners are investing around Rs 4,500 crore.

The proposed car’s launch would help Renault achieve its target of one lakh units with five products by 2013, an official said. The company will launch three more cars next year — to have five models on offer, including a 4x4 SUV and the Koleos to be launched this year. The annual sales is estimated to be about 100,000 units by 2013. To back this plan, it will have 100 dealerships in place by end-2012.

The joint venture, which was given a structured package of incentives by the Tamil Nadu Government for large investments in the automobile sector, is set to beat the 2015 deadline for full investments by at least two years, according to a senior official.

Fluence, the first Renault car to be assembled in India, is to be followed by a high-end sports utility vehicle this year, the Koleos, and three cars next year, including a lower-cost hatchback.

The number os dealers will be increased to 100 from the current 15, said Rao. “For now, we are not looking at exports. Renault will focus only on the domestic market,” he added.

Renault, which sold 800 units in the country last year, also planned to increase its components sourcing to Euros 100 million next year from 65 million. Currently, 30 vendors from India cater to Renault’s overseas plants.