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

 

Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own