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Nissan to take on Nano

words - Mike Sinclair
Nissan and alliance partner Renault have announced a JV with Bajaj to take on Tata

Nissan and Renault will take on the super-cheap Tata Nano. The announcement was made yesterday by Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn and Rajiv Bajaj, head of Indian carmaker, Bajaj Auto.

The three companies will form a joint-venture operation to develop, build and market the vehicle, codenamed ULC (ultra low cost), for the Indian market. According to the joint statement issued yesterday, the target price for the car is from $US2500.

Recent purchaser of Jaguar and Land Rover, Tata announced its low cost vehicle, the Nano earlier this year. Also aimed at the Indian domestic market, the Nano is projected to cost around $US3500.

Nissan and Renault will each hold 25 per cent of the new company, while Bajaj Auto will have a 50 per cent share. Established in India, but also with a presence in Africa, South America and South East Asia, Bajaj Auto is a vehicle builder of some substance -- it will build around 2.5m vehicles this year, around 620,000 or which are exported.

The ULC will be built at a new plant in Chakan, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Initial planned capacity will be 400,000 units per year, with sales projected to start in 2011.

The JV partners say development is on target to hit on-sale and cost estimates.

At the other end of the technical spectrum, 2010/11 will also see Nissan launch its first electric-powered production vehicles. Slated for introduction in the USA in 2010, the next markets in which the cars will be sold, following recent production and infrastructure partnership announcements, will be Denmark and Israel.

Nissan plans to be in full series production of its first EVs by 2012.

Nissan is showcasing aspects of its EV systems at Nissan 360, under way this week in Portugal.

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Published : Tuesday, 13 May 2008

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