Renault-Nissan likely to dump M&M as partner

 Renault-Nissan president and chief executive Carlos GhosnIn the clearest indication yet that the partnership between Renault-Nissan and Indian heavy vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra may be heading for the rocks, Renault-Nissan president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Wednesday that nobody should be surprised if the partnership ends.

Mahindra-Renault manufactures the entry-level sedan Logan, but its sales have been poor and are dropping further. The French-Japanese combine of Renault and Nissan also has alliances with Bajaj Auto for developing an ultra low-cost car, and with Ashok Leyland for light commercial vehicles.

When asked at the Tokyo Motor Show whether Renault will part ways with M&M in their 49:51 joint venture company, Ghosn said, ''I am not saying we will, I am saying we can. I don't want anybody to be surprised.

''We have today three partners (in India). Our intention is to continue with the (three) partners, but if it is not possible, I can tell you that we need at least one,'' he added.

The Logan, a winner across the world, has seen its sales crash 71 per cent in September to just over 500 vehicles, while its April to September numbers are down to less than a third of last year. Mahindra-Renaul reported losses of nearly Rs500 crore last fiscal.

''It is a matter of concern. Every time your sales go down on any model, not only in India, we always check why. We are going to try for some more time - if it does not work then we will go with a second car, probably with a different partner. We are in India to stay,'' Ghosn said.