It was rumored that Nissan/Renault was serious about fielding a low-priced competitor to the $2,500 USD Tata Nano, and the automaker made it official today by announcing a plan to produce an equally inexpensive car called the ULC in conjunction with Indian automaker Bajaj Auto. The two companies are forming a joint-venture to produce the ULC, which will be built at an all-new facility in Chakan, India at an initial rate of 400,000 units per year. The Tata Nano has no need for concern just yet, as the ULC isn't scheduled to go on sale until early 2011 in India and then even later in export countries. We're doubtful that the U.S. is among those export considerations, but parts of Europe will likely see the ULC not long after the Nano arrives in their market.

[Source: Nissan/Renault]


PRESS RELEASE

Bajaj Auto and the Renault-Nissan Alliance to build the car code-named ULC with wholesale price range starting from 2500 USD

PARIS/PUNE/TOKYO (May 12, 2008) – Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj and Mr. Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Renault and President and CEO of Nissan, today announced they will form a joint-venture company to develop, produce and market the car code-named ULC with wholesale price range starting from 2500 USD. The new joint-venture company will be 50% owned by Bajaj Auto, 25% by Renault and 25% by Nissan.

Targeting the growing Indian new vehicle market, the ULC will be made at an all-new plant to be constructed in Chakan (Maharashtra state) in India. Initial planned capacity will be 400,000 units per year. Sales will start in early 2011 in India, as a primary market, with growth potential in other emerging markets around the world.

The feasibility has already extended into Joint Product Development and the project is on line to meet targeted performance & cost.

Renault Corporate

The Renault Group generated global revenues of €40,682 million in 2007. It designs, engineers, manufactures and sells passenger and light commercial vehicles throughout the world. The Renault Group is present in 118 countries and sells vehicles under its three brands – Renault, Dacia and Samsung. The Renault Group employs 129,000 people worldwide.

Nissan Corporate

The Nissan Motor Company generated global net revenues of 10.468 trillion yen in 2006. Nissan is present in all major global auto markets selling a comprehensive range of cars, pickup trucks, SUVs and light commercial vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. Nissan employs over 220,000 people worldwide.

Renault-Nissan Alliance

The Renault-Nissan Alliance, created in 1999, has sold 6,160,046 vehicles in 2007. The Alliance aims to be ranked in the top three in terms of quality, technology and profitability amongst the major global automakers.

Bajaj Auto Ltd.

Bajaj Auto Ltd. is a manufacturer of 2 wheelers & Commercial Vehicles with sales of about 2.5 million Units in FY 08 – with exports of 618,000 units. Bajaj Auto has a strong presence in South Asia, Africa, Central & Latin Americas.