Nissan to bring new car platform

Friday, Mar 06, 2015

The Renault Nissan Alliance will launch an all new global car platform in India in the sub four metre category, described as the A segment in auto parlance, this summer. The yet to be named car, expected to be priced under Rs 4 lakh, has been fully designed and conceived in the company's research and development facility in Chennai, a top official of the car maker said.

Responding to a question from TOI, here at the Geneva Motor Show, on Tuesday Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO Renault Nissan Alliance said the car would be launched in other markets of the world after its introduction in India. The other geographies, where it would be introduced soon after includes markets in South America, Africa and Asia.

The car is expected to compete with the likes of WagonR and Hyundai i10 among others. Company officials say it is expected to be initially introduced this May under the Renault brand but will be extended to Nissan later.

"It's an example of the reverse innovation programme being carried out in our R&D facility in India", he said describing the alliance's efforts to utilize frugal engineering capabilities available in India to develop a car meant for the global market.

A big votary of innovation, Ghosn's philosophy of an inexpensive car was first articulated after the much talked about launch of the Nano by Tata Motors under Ratan Tata. He had then told TOI in an interaction that the company will soon come out with a car which will offer consumers a relatively inexpensive car with all the trappings of safety, design and comfort. Company officials also emphasized that the "Nano beater" tag was just limited to the inspiration in terms of costing and engineering capabilities available in India and does not extend to the product dynamics. "It's not a cheap platform", they emphasized.

Ghosn, did not disclose additional details on pricing saying the same would be made available during the launch. He is expected to visit Chennai in May for the launch of the new car.

He, however, does not foresee the launch of an electric vehicle from its portfolio in India any time soon. "There are no appropriate incentives in India for it," he said. He also does not want to launch a commercial vehicle of his own in India as it wants to maintain its focus on passenger cars.

The alliance showcased three new cars at the Geneva Motor Show, the first of such global motor shows of the year, including Renault's Kadjar, Nissan's Sway and a new Infinity cross over.

Addressing reporters, Ghosn said connectivity, autonomous cars and driverless cars were among the building blocks of his vision to make the alliance, the world's third largest car maker. Though it would continue to make investments, It could also include possible consolidation to achieve this goal.

The alliance, which is focusing considerable energies on autonomous and driverless cars globally, said it would be in a position to launch autonomous vehicles in phases by 2020. He, however, denied the alliance was concerned about talks of such cars being introduced by Google and Apple.


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