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Bajaj Auto unveils small car RE 60 in partnership with Nissan and Renault

By Motortrend India Staff   |   02 January,2012

Bajaj Auto Ltd launched its first-ever four-wheeled vehicle on Tuesday, saying the RE60 would target commercial users and three-wheeled vehicle owners in India, and that production could involve Nissan and Renault.


The unveiling of the four-seater RE60 ended months of rumours that have buzzed around India’s auto industry on the nature of the vehicle, which promises low carbon emissions and fuel efficiency, the company said in a much-anticipated launch.


The unveiling of the four-seater RE60 ended months of rumours that have buzzed around India’s auto industry on the nature of the vehicle, which promises low carbon emissions and fuel efficiency, the company said in a much-anticipated launch.


Bajaj is India’s second-largest two-wheeled vehicle maker, and is the world’s leader in the three-wheeled vehicle segment, which includes the popular rickshaw taxis used across Asia’s third-largest economy.


France’s Renault SA and Japan’s Nissan Motor Co, who worked with Bajaj on developing what was slated to be an ultra low-cost minicar, will decide on co-operation on the RE60 in the next few days, Bajaj Managing Director Ravi Bajaj told reporters.


"At no point we intended to be contract manufacturers for Renault-Nissan... With small or big modification, we can supply to Renault-Nissan if they wish," Bajaj said. "They have not seen the product... If Renault-Nissan were to walk away, that is also fine with us."


Renault-Nissan will view the vehicle for the first time at this year’s Auto Expo, Bajaj added. The event, held once every two years, begins in New Delhi on Thursday.


The RE60 will be manufacturered in Bajaj’s plant in Aurangabad, and will be made available to customers in the next few months, Bajaj said. Bajaj has been working with Nissan Motor Co and Renault SA on a project to develop what was originally planned to be an ultra low-cost minicar. Bajaj and Renault-Nissan had announced the formation of a joint venture in May 2008. The project ran into hiccups over branding, product detail and concept issues.


Bajaj Auto said that for the last 8-9 quarters, the company is most profitable globally. It expected FY-12 3-wheelers volumes to touch 50 lakh units. Rajiv Bajaj said that the company expected to close FY12 with exports of Rs 6500 cr. "We aim to export 16 lakh units by end-FY12."


Bajaj said that the company has made a smooth transition from being a scooter company to a bike manufacturer. "Pulsar and Discover are driving company’s growth," added Bajaj.


Shares in the automaker, which opened strongly in anticipation of the RE60 launch, were up 0.3 percent at Rs 1480 in early afternoon trading. The overall market was up about 2 percent.



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