On November 10 French automaker Renault confirmed that they will offer a supermini car priced lower than the Tata Nano, which will enter the Indian market by 2012.
The fuel-efficient car will be priced at less than 100,000 rupees (€1,400), achieving the original goal for the Tata Nano, which the Indian automaker did not attain. The Nano starts at around 112,000 rupees (€1,600) for the base model and goes up to around 185,000 (€2,700) rupees for the top-end version, with prices varying according to location in India.
Renault will work with Indian two-wheel specialist Bajaj for the low-cost car, which will handle the design, engineering, parts sourcing and manufacturing while the Renault-Nissan alliance will cover marketing and sales. Renault-Nissan will decide upon the brand and model name and not Bajaj.
This supermini is not the same as the compact Nissan V world car the company announced on October 30, which will be be sold in China, India and Thailand beginning March 2010, ultimately reaching more than 150 countries. The V will likely compete with the upcoming Ford Fiesta world car, which is expected to be unveiled with similarly ambitious designs at the Los Angeles Auto Show, opening December 2.
The tiny Nano, dubbed "The People's Car," has been sold in India since July, has already received an overwhelming 200,000 pre-orders in India and has revolutionized the way the world looks at low-cost automobiles. It has also had safety issues, with fires spontaneously combusting in the steering column of three Nanos, forcing a Tata audit of all Nanos.
Nearly 100,000 Nanos are expected to be sold domestically in 2010, with export plans in place for Nigeria in 2010, Europe in 2011 - provided it passes safety testing, and intentions for distribution in Latin America, via Italy's Fiat group, according to Tata.