Sri Lanka to get Bajaj four-wheeler

NEW DELHI, July 15, 2011 (AFP) – Indian motorbike maker Bajaj has abandoned plans to develop an ultra-low-cost car with France’s Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan, according to a senior executive. The companies announced in 2009 that they hoped to bring a $2,500 minicar to market in 2012, but there have been suggestions for months that the project was stalling amid differences among the partners.

Bajaj, India’s second-largest motorcycle maker by sales, was to have designed and made the car, while Renault and Nissan would have provided the marketing and sales support.

The idea was to produce a vehicle to challenge the Indian-made Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, but Bajaj concluded that the project was not viable and says that Renault has agreed.

“We don’t intend to get into the low-margin (passenger car) business,” Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, told reporters in the western city of Pune late on Thursday, according to Dow Jones News Wires.

“We don’t want to lose all our money,” said Bajaj, whose company reported a 21-percent jump in quarterly net profit to 7.11 billion rupees ($159.4 million) from a year earlier, slightly undershooting market forecasts.