Renault-Nissan, Bajaj announce cheap car project

PARIS, May 12, 2008 (AFP) – Renault-Nissan and the Indian group Bajaj announced a joint venture Monday to produce a 2,500-dollar (1,600-euro) car, with sales expected to begin in India in early 2011. The joint venture would be 50 percent owned by Bajaj Auto, 25 percent by Renault and 25 percent by Nissan, said a staement. The budget car is so far only known as “Codename ULC.”

The ULC will be produced in a factory to be built at Chakan, Maharashtra state, western India which will eventually produce 400,000 units a year, the two groups said.

Renault-Nissan president Carlos Ghosn had announced the joint venture in early November of 2007 after preliminary talks in July. The main market for the car will be India but it may eventually be sold elsewhere.

Bajaj is India’s second-biggest motorbike maker.

Earlier this year, Tata Motor, part of India’s giant Tata conglomerate, announced plans to build what it claimed to be the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, also costing 2,500 dollars.

The Nano’s debut is planned for later this year. .