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Mahindra may be partner in $3,000 car: Nissan

India's Mahindra would be the "natural" partner if the company decides to produce a $3,000 car, says Carlos Ghosn and France's Renault.

business Updated: Jun 27, 2007 12:57 IST

Carlos Ghosn, head of Japan's Nissan Motor Corp and France's Renault, said on Wednesday that India's Mahindra would be the "natural" partner if the company decides to produce a $3,000 car.

"If it's possible to be done, it will be done in India," Ghosn told reporters in Bangkok. "If it's done, it will be done for Renault and Nissan," he said.

"Mahindra would be the natural partner," he added.

Ghosn said after a shareholders meeting last week in Tokyo that he saw ready opportunities for a low-cost car in India, which is one of the world's fastest growing automobile markets, on the back of a burgeoning middle class.

An Indian carmaker has already announced plans to produce such a car next year, he said.

But Ghosn said the company was only studying the possibility, and that Renault remained focused on selling its low-cost Logan, which was introduced in India in April.

Mahindra is the firm's local partner in producing the Logan. Renault, Nissan and Mahindra are also building a $902-million factory together in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

Thailand, which is the world's top producer of light pickups, this month unveiled an incentive scheme to convince automakers to begin producing environmentally friendly passenger cars.

Ghosn said that Thailand's proposal to automakers was "one of the considered options" for the company, but added that the scheme appeared to favor bigger automakers in the kingdom.

Japanese auto giants Toyota, Isuzu, and Honda control about three-fourths of the Thai market.

Within Southeast Asia, Renault and Nissan also have an eye on Vietnam, which Ghosn described as a "very interesting and promising country".
Nissan already employs 1,000 engineers in Hanoi, who support the company's staff in Japan.

"Renault or Nissan at a certain point in time will go into Vietnam," he said, but added that such a move was not likely within the next two years.

First Published: Jun 27, 2007 12:49 IST