Renault makes India comeback with luxury sedan

French carmaker Renault marked its return to fast-growing India on Monday with the launch of a luxury sedan designed especially for the Asian market.

Renault India managing director Marc Nassif said the launch of the Fluence marked "the real first phase" of the carmaker's entry into India.

Its earlier foray in the nation was the four-door Logan built with former local partner Mahindra and Mahindra, which was aimed at the mid-size segment.

But the Logan, launched in 2007, found few buyers, and was panned by critics for its dated looks and high price, and Renault ended the joint venture last year.

The Fluence, to be sold for around 1.3 million rupees ($29,000), is the first Renault-branded car to be assembled in India at the automaker's plant in Chennai.

"We are confident it will not only shake up the (luxury) segment, but also give the Indian customer their first taste of what Renault is capable of bringing to the Indian market," Nassif told reporters in New Delhi.

After the Fluence, Renault has said it plans to introduce a sports utility vehicle this year, to be known as the Koleos, followed by three more cars next year.

The company says it aims to sell 100,000 vehicles a year by the end of 2013. India, along with Brazil and Russia, is among the top three markets for Renault's international expansion plans.

India has emerged as a popular destination for foreign auto makers, as growth in western developed markets has dwindled in recent years.

But Renault said it might reconsider plans to team up with Bajaj Auto, the country's top motorbike and rickshaw maker, on an ultra-low cost car to be sold in India if the vehicle's quality does not meet the French company's standards.

Under an initial agreement between Bajaj and Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan, the Indian company was to design and manufacture the car. The marketing and selling was to be done by the Renault-Nissan alliance.

"If the quality of development matches with the promises we see, we will go ahead," Renault India managing director Nassif said.

Renault has not seen the product yet and will be able to decide on its course of action only after reviewing it, he added.

When asked if the company would exit from the project if it did not meet its standards, he replied: "We will do something different, we will have our opportunities."

"We do not have a joint venture, we have not made any investments," he added. He declined to say what Renault meant by doing "something different".

The small car, expected to launch in 2012, is aimed at rivalling the world's cheapest car - the Nano - produced by India's leading vehicle maker Tata Motors.

There was no immediate comment from Bajaj Auto, which earlier this month said it would make a commercial vehicle employing the same platform it was using for its cheap car venture with Renault-Nissan.

"By the middle of next year, we will bring a four-wheeler from the ultra-low-cost (car) platform. For us, this will be a commercial vehicle and it will be a goods carrier," Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj told the Press Trust of India.

pmc/jah

 

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

    £17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef / Managers

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'