It is Indian designed, Indian engineered and made for Indians, says Carlos Ghosn

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn, on Tuesday, took the wraps off the alliance’s latest shot at making a dent in the Indian market — the CMF (Common Module Family) -A ‘platform’ that will cater to the demands of the ‘rising class’ of car buyers.

The Franco-Japanese alliance also intends to double its investment in India to nearly $5 billion over the next few years, and is targeting a 15 per cent market share, for both the Renault-Nissan and Datsun brands over the next few years.

“There is no way anybody in the car industry can be bearish about India. We are investing in products here, we will expand our capacity, and are aiming for a 5 per cent market share by the end of this year,” Mr. Ghosn said, while addressing reporters here at a media roundtable.

To elaborate his point further, he said that at 15 cars per 1,000 people India’s car ownership was far lower than other countries such as China (60 cars), Brazil (200) and the U.S (800).

“Considering the investments that are being made by the government on infrastructure, and a booming private sector, there is no way any one in the car industry can be pessimistic about this market,” Mr. Ghosn added.

“We see India easily being in the top five markets for Renault and in the top ten markets for Nissan in future. The new platform was Indian designed, Indian engineered and made for Indians,” he added. The new investment will also see an entry into the ultra low cost car segment, with the help of the CMF-A which will cover the most affordable category of cars in the Common Module Family.

“This platform has been built ground up jointly by Renault and Nissan and it will be state-of-the-art and most innovative,” he said. The platform would be used across the three brands Renault, Nissan and Datsun, he added.

The CMF-A, for instance, offers a high degree of flexibility while significant body style and power train variations can be matched to specific Indian needs and preferences. India will be a home to the CMF-A platform, as development work on the platform began in alliance’s engineering facility near here.

According to a company release, production of vehicles within the CMF-A scope will begin after two years in Chennai, and the first car will hit the market by 2015.

“We are breaking new ground with CMF-A to meet and exceed the high standards of consumers in the world’s fastest growing economies, particularly people buying a new car for the first time,” Mr. Ghosn said, while refusing to divulge further details on pricing details or product volumes.

About the ultra low cost car, the Renault-Nissan chief pointed out that Ratan Tata had the right idea.

“Our frugal car will be at entry-level prices, if you understand what I mean. Our intention is to come out with a car that will be totally modern, Indian engineered and not have outdated technology,” he added.

“But let’s make it clear, we don’t want to compare ourselves to the Tata Nano, or benchmark against it,” he added. The current slowdown in the Indian market, Mr. Ghosn said, should not be looked as an obstacle to future investment or strategies.

“It is really a question of adapting to temporary slowdowns. Yes, the situation here is a little bad. In Russia and Brazil, things aren’t looking up, but if you look at the fundamentals of all countries, the trend is upward,” he said.

“By the end of this year we will sell, hopefully, 150,000 cars here in India,” he said.

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