Renault has ended its collaboration with Bajaj Auto for building an ultra-low-cost car and has confirmed that it is looking at other partners, or that it could even go solo if required.
Renault had closely observed the ULC development at Bajaj, but wasn’t satisfied with the final product – the RE60. “We saw the Bajaj car and it was not what we wanted,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan, at the Paris Motor Show.
The French carmaker has stated that “it has learnt from its ULC experience in India” and believes it can put the lessons learnt to use and become a big player in the global low-cost car market in the future. Renault has also partnered with Ashok Leyland, which made use of an old, low-cost platform from Renault’s stable and churned out a successful load carrier, the Dost. Apart from India, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is already catering to entry-level segments in emerging markets like China and Russia.
Renault’s Japanese partner Nissan is developing its own ultra-low-cost cars that it plans to launch under the revived Datsun brand in India. Renault has hinted that it could partner with Nissan for the development of the ULC and look at low-cost products from the Japanese carmaker’s portfolio.
Apart from the ULC project, Renault has also revealed its inclination towards developing smaller capacity diesel engines in the future. Renault's smallest diesel unit currently is the 1.5-litre K9K and in the interest of downsizing, it plans to develop a smaller and more efficient diesel motor, which may have a 1200cc capacity.