Europe’s second largest car maker Renault on Tuesday said its proposed ultra low cost (ULC) car with Bajaj Auto for the Indian market has the least priority till 2012, the year scheduled for its launch.
The Indian two-wheeler maker, who is planning a foray into the passenger car segment with the ULC, has not even shown the prototype of the product yet to its Franco-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan despite getting requests for the same several times.
“As we have announced earlier, five cars are going to be launched by 2012. They are the priority and there is no ULC in this,” Renault India Managing Director Marc Nassif told reporters.
When asked if the ULC is not a priority for the company’s Indian operations, he said: “We cannot comment anything on the (ULC) project at this time as we have not seen the product... Our focus is the five Renault cars.”
The company, which aims to sell 90,000 to one lakh cars in India by 2013, said it will take a decision on the ULC once the product is available to them for review and it “may be an opportunity for us”, he added. Bajaj Auto, however, has not shown the product yet to its partners despite stating several times earlier that it is on track to launch a commercial vehicle from the same platform.
“We have been asking them to show the prototype many times. But they are saying wait and wait,” Renault Executive Vice President and Leader of Asia Africa Management Katsumi Nakamura said.
Identifying India as one of its three key global markets after Brazil and Russia, Renault said affordable cars will play an important role and products that will be launched here between 2013 and 2015 will be mainly in the mass market.
“The biggest part of the Indian market is below the five products, which we will be launching by 2012. So it is obvious that with our target in mind, other future products will be towards the affordable range,” Renault Executive Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Jerome Stoll said.
Yet, the Renault officials declined to comment on the role that the ULC with Bajaj would play in future. Last month, Nassif had said the company would go ahead with the ULC car only if it is satisfied with the quality of the product.