labels: automotive, mahindra & mahindra, renault india, passenger cars
M&M to bring the Renault Logan to India news
Mohini Bhatnagar
01 December 2004

Renault''s popular notchback, the Logan, will increase the options before the ''upper B''- and ''lower C'' segment buyers in India. The car will compete with models like the Hyundai Accent, Maruti Esteem, Tata Indigo and Ford Ikon

Since the Indian markets opened up in the ''90s, leading global carmakers from the US, Germany, Japan, Korea and Italy have made their presence felt in India. The notable exception have been the French auto companies, though with the recent launch of Porsche''s vehicles (including the Cayenne, a SUV) and others here that too has changed. Porsche, however, is very much on the periphery and by bringing in completely built units it seems unwilling to place its faith in the country with any substantial investments.

However, French carmaker Renault, Europe''s fourth largest car maker, known for vehicles like the distinctive looking Laguna, Clio and Modus is looking at the fast growing ''B'' and ''C'' segments in India and hopes to introduce the Logan, its ''C'' segment sedan.

The company is reported to be on the verge of entering into an agreement with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), to jointly manufacture the low-cost sedan in India.

The Logan, earlier manufactured by Dacia, a state-owned Romanian company in which Renault acquired a 51 per cent stake for $50m in 1999, increasing it to 99 per cent, is being targeted at emerging auto markets in Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and Asian countries like India and China.

Priced at a very affordable Euro5,000 ($6,105), the Logan is a simple and rugged looking compact notchback sedan and plainer looking than the usual daringly styled Renault models. The Logan incorporates the tall body design for maximum interior space and comes powered by a Renault engine. Built on the same platform as the new Nissan Micra, Logan''s top end variant boasts features like ABS, airbags, power assisted steering remote-controlled central locking, electric windows, and CD player.

A completely new vehicle, the Logan also breaks the tradition of new launches from Renault being derivatives of its older models. It is also the first vehicle in Renault''s X90 programme and was developed as part of a pilot programme in which digital simulation technology was used to design and engineer the vehicle.

Targeted principally at third world countries, the Logan has been designed with a critical one inch of extra ground clearance (155mm) to cope with potholed roads and dirt tracks. Its engine has also been reworked so that it runs well on lower quality fuel and also complies with Euro IV emission standards.

The first vehicle to have emerged from Renault''s X90 programme, the Logan is a three-box saloon with five full-size seats and a large booth with cargo volume of 510 litres — larger than cars almost twice its size.

The Logan is available in two engine variants of 1.4cc that develops 75 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, and the larger 1.6cc-engine that can generate 90 bhp and 95 lb-ft of torque. The 1.4cc-engine of the Dacia sedan can go from 0 to 100km in 13 seconds with a top speed of 162km, while the larger engine takes 11.5 seconds to reach 100km with a top speed of 175 km.

With a 4,250 mm length, a 1,975 mm width 1,525 mm height and a light kerb weight of 925kg, the Renault Logan slots well into the ''upper B''- and ''lower C'' segment in India and will compete with models like the Hyundai Accent, Maruti Esteem, Tata Indigo and Ford Ikon in India.

The first sedan in M&M''s product line up, which consists of utility vehicles Scorpio in the Rs6 - Rs7 lakh price range, and the slightly cheaper Bolero, the base model (without power steering, AC, stereo, power windows and ABS) of the Renault Logan is likely to be priced in the Rs3.5 lakh to Rs4 lakh range in India and will offer M&M an aggressively priced model in the fast growing volume-end of the ''C''-segment. Renault is reported to be very keen on having a presence in India, which is emerging among the world''s fastest growing emerging markets.

Renault is targeting 7,00,000 units a year of the Logan by 2010 in seven of the third world countries across Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, North Africa and Asia.

While Logan is currently produced only in Romania, Renault is planning to set up an assembly line in China (where negotiations with its likely partner, Dongfeng Motor are underway), Russia, Morocco, Colombia and Iran.

The joint venture between Renault and M&M in which the latter is likely to hold a majority stake will have Rajesh Jejurikar, M&M executive vice-president, marketing, as its head and will be funded by the $100m raised through an FCCB raised by M&M earlier this year.

Auto industry sources confirm that the Logan will be sold through the Mahindra dealership network and will probably boast co-badging by Renault and Mahindra.

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M&M to bring the Renault Logan to India