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Renault vows to beat Nano on price path

New Delhi, Nov. 10: French car maker Renault and Bajaj Auto would launch their small car by 2012, and the price could be cheaper than Tata Motors’ Nano.

“I can tell you the cost of this car would be lower than any car made in India today,” said Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of Renault.

Other global firms are also eyeing the small car market. General Motors plans to launch a car at the end of 2010, while Toyota Motor expects to be ready with its model by late 2011.

Ford Motor plans to begin production early next year, but the car would not compete with the Nano.

Ghosn met Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj yesterday to settle outstanding issues on branding and the basic concept of the car.

The two partners seem to have buried their differences and are committed to launch the car in India in three years.

“According to the agreement, the design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing will be handled by Bajaj Auto, while marketing and selling will be done by the Renault-Nissan alliance,” Ghosn said at the concluding day of the India Economic Summit.

In 2008, Renault-Nissan and Bajaj had announced the project that would roll out a small car at a starting price of $2,500 (about Rs 1 lakh).

However, differences arose on a host of issues, including branding, styling and the price point.

Renault was keen on a car similar to the Nano, while Bajaj was more interested in a model with a better mileage.

“Branding will be the responsibility of the Renault- Nissan alliance. Bajaj has shown no interest in using its name on the car,” Ghosn said.

Both Ghosn and Ravi Bajaj declined to comment on investments.

Though the car is primarily for India, it will also be exported to the emerging markets, Ghosn said.

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