Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nissan to tie up with Ashok Leyland for small cars

Japanese car firm Nissan is in talks with Hinduja group company Ashok Leyland for developing a small car that will operate in the segment currently dominated by the Maruti Suzuki Alto.

Speaking to Indian journalists here on the sidelines of the Geneva Auto Show, Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan & Renault, said: “We are studying the possibility of tying up with Ashok Leyland and some other manufacturers in China and Indonesia for a small car project.”

In India, the car could be positioned between the Tata Nano at the lower end and Maruti Swift at the upper end of the small car market.

The tie-up with Bajaj Auto for an ultra low-cost car in the Nano price bracket continues. While Nissan said no fresh progress had been made on this alliance, Ravi Kumar, vice-president, business development, Bajaj Auto, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the company today launched its fourth-generation car, Micra. Production begins later this month at Nissan’s new plant in Chennai and the car goes on commercial sale in May. It is likely to be positioned in the B-segment and priced between Rs 3.8 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.

According to the agreement with Bajaj Auto in November last year for the ultra low-cost car, Bajaj will be responsible for the design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing and the Renault-Nissan alliance for marketing and selling.

Nissan Motor Co-Executive Vice-President Collin Dodge said: “We have a formal agreement with Ashok Leyland for making light commercial vehicles in India. In addition to that, we also use Ashok Leyland’s engineering services for various purposes. At the moment, we are talking to them and many other partners.”

He said the global small car is aimed at tapping the price bracket of $4,500-5,000, which is set to grow substantially and account for around “20 per cent of the total global car sales in due course of time”.

Source : Business Standards

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