2012 Auto Expo is the platform where Bajaj Auto will pull the wraps off the Ultra Low Cost car. However, this is not for a launch as one would suspect. This step is to rate the Bajaj’s skill in small car development where apart from the consumers, Nissan and Renault will have to give a nod of approval to set the project in motion. Bajaj has been constantly striving to impress its partners and it is the latest version of the ULC that will make it to the Auto Expo next year. Bajaj apparently is all set with the new ULC in hand. So, a joint announcement from Nissan and Renault can be expected soon after the Auto Expo.
The deal between the Japanese car manufacturer, the French auto major and the Indian two-wheeler manufacturer went through in 2008, but without much progress so far. Bajaj Auto was to take care of the infrastructure and manufacturing meeting all the production requirements. Nissan on the other hand is supposed to take care of the marketing and the distribution needs for the ULC car sales. Only back in September Giles Normand, the vice-president of Nissan’s corporate division, who handles the ULC project with Bajaj had given an insight on the ongoing project.
He clearly mentioned that the project was neither off nor confirmed yet. The consumers will have to wait up till January 2012 for their joint decision. The basic criteria is the Bajaj ULC will have to live up to the standards that it is expected of. While nothing could be said about the partnership of the trio, Nissan, Renault and Bajaj Auto, the Renault-Nissan JV has reached the next level. A new hatchback Renault Pulse will also make it to the 2012 Auto Expo from Renault’s side which is a rebadged version of Nissan Micra. A new sedan based on the Nissan Sunny is also expected from Renault, though unsure of the timelines. Nissan on the other hand is all set to launch a new MPV NV 200 in India next year.
Also see - Renault’s small car for India