The partnership between world's third-largest auto maker Renault Nissan and third-largest two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd for a low-cost car seems to be tottering on the edge. The Franco-Japanese alliance, however, officially said it has not decided yet whether to go ahead with the vehicle developed by Bajaj.
The two groups entered into a partnership in 2010 in which Bajaj would make a low-cost car to rival Tata Nano, while Renault-Nissan would market and sell the product in India and abroad. Bajaj showcased that model, RE60, during the New Delhi Auto Expo in January but classified it as a four wheeler intended to provide a better option for three wheeler users around the world.
"We have not taken a decision yet whether we would like to sell the car or not," said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO, Renault Nissan. "Our executives are looking at the product closely and I cannot give you a time frame (when) we would be ready with a decision. This vehicle is intended to be a low-cost model for people driving a car for the first time. We are not looking at conformity but it has to be a car."
The RE60 is powered by a 200-cc rear mounted engine with a top speed of 70 kmph and a fuel economy of 35 kmpl. It will be manufactured at Bajaj's Aurangabad plant.
Another senior official from the Renault Nissan alliance however, told HT, it was unlikely that this vehicle would be marketed by Renault Nissan. "We were very clear that we would not interfere with the development of the product and would restrict ourselves to the marketing and sales aspects. On the face of it, this is not a vehicle we would like to sell alongside our own cars."
(The writer trip to Geneva Motor Show was sponsored by Tata Motors)