Renault eyes Tata Nano rival, report says
Carmaker plans sub-Dacia cars for emerging markets
Renault's low-cost Dacia brand sells its cheapest car, the Sandero, for 6,990 euros in Germany.
Renault plans to boost its market share in emerging markets with the launch of two low-cost vehicles, including a Tata Nano rival, a French news Web site reported.
Developed together with alliance partner Nissan, the automaker will unveil a budget model priced at about 5,000 euros ($6,400) that will reach the market at the end of 2014, Latribune.fr said on Tuesday. An additional model, priced at about 3,000 euros, will be designed by the alliance to take on the Nano, considered the world's cheapest car, in its Indian home market, the report added.
Both models will be built in Chennai, India, and are not destined for Europe.
Gaetan Toulemonde, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, told Automotive News Europe that Renault was well positioned to offer such models in emerging markets. "Renault is extremely good in the cheap, entry-level car segment and their Dacia brand cars are extremely profitable," Toulemonde said. "I would definitely give them the benefit of the doubt that their India car launch will be successful."
Like other carmakers facing a slump in sales in Europe, Renault is trying to tap into fast-growing emerging markets, where demand remains strong, especially for cheaper models. Renault already expects to make half of sales outside Europe this year, ahead of target set for 2016.
Asked about Renault's progress on low-cost cars in India on Tuesday, Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares said nothing had yet been finalized.
"When the project has been officially decided ... we will make an announcement," he said, adding that the carmaker was continuing to work on it. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has said the group needs to have cheaper models than its current Dacia range in its catalogue, especially to respond to emerging-market demand.
A separate move to boost the Renault brand ran into problems on Tuesday as Tavares confirmed a report by French daily Le Parisien that a risk of leakage had been discovered in the braking system of its four-wheel battery-powered Twizy electric scooter.
A spokeswoman for the company said the group was recalling in Europe 6,200 Twizy vehicles produced between January and May this year. So far, Renault had made 8,000 Twizy units in Europe.
The Twizy, made in Spain, is one of Renault's four electric models alongside the Kangoo ZE, Fluence ZE and Zoe, which should start being delivered before the end of the year, Tavares said. Production should then ramp up in early 2013.
Bruce Gain, Reuters contributed to this reportContact Automotive News