Renault SA intends to launch a premium hatchback, which is "made-for-India," in early 2012 in order to compete with the Swift subcompact of Maruti Suzuki, the country's biggest vehicle manufacturer, the company's Executive Vice President Philippe Klein disclosed on Tuesday. The vehicle will be displayed at the Delhi auto show in January.
It is also part of Renault's goal to introduce five vehicle models in India by 2012, the EVP revealed. The automaker launched the Fluence sedan, which is its first independent model, in the second-fastest emerging vehicle market in the world last month.
By the end of 2013, the company expects to sell 100,000 units. The company and its partner Nissan Motor Co. inked a deal last year with Bajaj Auto, which is the second biggest vehicle maker of two-wheelers in India, in order to produce an ultra-low-cost vehicle for the country and other emerging markets.
This low-cost unit is to be launched by 2012. On Tuesday, the executives at Renault said that they were not able to comment on a possible marketing partnership because they have yet to see the product.
The vehicle is produced to rival Tata Motors Ltd.'s Nano, which is the cheapest vehicle in the world. Renault is doubling its capacity at its Tamil Nadu plant in India to 400,000 by the end of 2012.
It has also committed 45 billion rupees ($1 billion) in investment for the facility, which will bring out the five vehicle models starting with Fluence. Renault will also launch its Duster compact SUV in India by the second half of next year, Klein disclosed.