Small car from Bajaj to be smaller than Maruti's Alto: Renault

The small car being developed by Bajaj Auto and marketed by the Renault-Nissan alliance in India will be smaller than Maruti Suzuki's Alto

The small car being developed by Bajaj Auto Ltd, that will be marketed by the Renault-Nissan alliance in India, will be smaller than Maruti Suzuki's Alto, according to the French car maker.

"The car that we are discussing with Bajaj is smaller than the small car. A small car like Maruti Suzuki's Alto or a 1.2-litre car is not on the table for discussion of Renault Bajaj. We are discussing a smaller car than the small car," Renault Asia Africa management committee executive vice president Katsumi Nakamura told PTI.

Last year, Renault chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn had announced that the Renault-Nissan combine along with Bajaj Auto have finalised an ultra low-cost product that will be launched by 2012, a year behind schedule than originally planned.

Mr Ghosn had stated that design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing will be handled by Bajaj Auto, while marketing and selling will be looked after by the Renault-Nissan alliance. More importantly, the car will have no Bajaj brand on it.

Subsequently, Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj had made it public that the small car will have 70%-80% of the parts common with its two- and three-wheelers.

The small car, initially supposed to hit the market by 2011, was delayed by a year due to differences between the partners over pricing and design.

Initially, when the project was announced in 2007, Renault wanted the car to compete with Tata's Nano but Bajaj wanted to focus on delivering fuel economy.

In 2008, Nissan joined the project and a tripartite joint venture was formed with Bajaj holding 50% stake and Renault and Nissan having 25% each and envisaging to produce 400,000 units of the small car annually.

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