Renault may turn its back on Bajaj mini-car

The joint project of a Bajaj-Renault-Nissan for an ultra-low cost car to rival Tata Motors' Nano seems to be struggling to stay afloat, as Renault said on Monday it may pull out of the project if the car being developed and manufactured by Bajaj does not meet its expectations.

"If it matches our DNA, we will go for it. If it does not, we will find other solutions," Renault India managing director Marc Nassif said after the company, which has a global tie-up with Nissan, launched its first fully independent product in India, the Fluence sedan, in New Delhi (See: Renault launches luxury sedan Fluence).

The company had partnered with Indian utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra to introduce the Logan sedan in 2007, but the car had failed to impress Indian customers, as its design was thought to be dated.

Eventually it pulled out of the joint venture and with its partner Nissan Motors of Japan started its own 400,000 cars a year greenfield plant in Chennai, where the Fluence is being currently manufactured.

Nassif made it clear that Renault was not obliged to buy the car that Bajaj develops, as there was no formal joint venture between the partners.

Under the agreement between them, announced by Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in 2009, Bajaj would be responsible for the R&D, design, development, sourcing and manufacturing of the car, while the foreign partners would sell it under their brands.