Renault-Nissan yet to ink deal with Bajaj for ULC


Japanese carmaker Nissan today said its alliance with Renault is yet to sign an agreement with Bajaj Auto for producing an ultra low-cost car (ULC), nearly over four months after announcing the broad roles of partners in the project.

In November last year, Renault-Nissan alliance chief Carlos Ghosn had said that the alliance will be responsible for sales and marketing of the ULC, while Bajaj Auto will design, develop and manufacture the car.

"The details of the small car project with Bajaj will be announced in due course of time...We have announced that the car will be launched sometime in 2012," Nissan Motor India Pvt Ltd MD and CEO Kiminobu Tokuyama told reporters here.

He was responding to a query on whether the three partners have finalised the product, manufacturing sites, equity structures (in case of a joint venture) and other details of the project.

"Other details will be informed later," he said when pressed if an agreement has been signed among the partners and by when the details will be made public.

Earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show, Nissan Motor Co Executive Vice-President Collin Dodge said that neither of its partners had found engineering solutions for their proposed ULC car for the Indian market.

"It is over two years that Bajaj is trying to produce the car. The physics of it is very difficult. We have not yet found a solution as there are lot of engineering solutions required," he said.

Last November Ghosn announced that the alliance had finalised an ultra low cost product for launching it in the market by 2012 with a claim that it would the cheapest in India in terms of running costs.

The car was originally scheduled to be launched in India in 2011, but was delayed due to differences between the partners in terms of pricing and design. Earlier, Renault had wanted to price the car at around $2,500.

As per a memorandum of understanding signed in May 2008, Bajaj was supposed to hold 50 per cent in a joint venture for developing the car, while Renault and Nissan would be owner of 25 per cent stake each.

The companies had announced that the ULC would be rolled from an all-new plant to be constructed in Chakan, Maharashtra with an initial capacity of four lakh units per year.

Nissan today opened its 10th dealership in the country. The company is increasing its outlets to 82 by 2013, by when it aims to sell one lakh cars every year in the country.