Renault, Nissan to prevent hatch cannibalisation

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | Rajat Guha | Rajat Guha | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 27 2010, 05:43am hrs
As French carmaker Renault gets all set to go solo with its proposed hatch that is slated to hit the Indian roads by 2012, the company has started discussions with Nissanwith whom it has a global alliance for developing engine platformsto ensure that there is no duplicity in design and feel of the new car with the recently launched Micra.

As the two companies are currently sharing the V-platform rolled out from Nissans Chennai plant, senior company officials of both the companies have their job cut out to prevent any possible cannibalisation of their two smart hatchbacks, especially in the backdrop of cut-throat competition.

Company officials from Nissan and Renault have already started discussions to make the proposed hatchback of Renault look different in style... they realise that if the Renault hatchback looks like the Micra, it could lead to cannibalisation, a source said. The source added that the two companies have reached the final stages of understanding.

According to a Renault spokesperson, It goes without saying that platform sharing indicates that (only) the platform is common... the exterior and interior skins of the car would have significant differentiating elements for Renault and Nissan products. A spokesperson from Nissan said, It is a known fact that both Nissan and Renault will share platforms for their set of compact vehicles. However, we are not in a position to comment on specific plans and products of Renault India.

However, analysts are already doubtful. An auto analyst said on the condition of anonymity, It is important for the two cars (Renaults proposed hatch and Nissans Micra) to look different in style. Volkswagens new car Polo is eating into the sales of Skodas Fabia... As both are manufactured from the same plant and owned by the same company, we can see clear cannibalisation there, he said. Polo and Fabia is built on the same platform which is manufactured at Volkswagens Chakan plant.

FE had reported on June 22 that after its not-so-pleasant experience with utility major Mahindra & Mahindra, the company had decided to launch a new hatchback for the India roads on its own. The proposed hatchback is slated to be launched by 2012. Renault has identified India as a high-growth market and has lined up a number of new launches over the next four-five years. The overcrowded small car segment, which constitutes almost 70% of the total car sales in the country, has witnessed several new launches in the last six months from Fords Figo, GMs Beat and Volkswagens Polo.

Nissan launched Micra, its first made-in-India car, in the Capital last week. The base model of the car is priced at Rs 3.98 lakh and goes up to Rs 5.28 lakh.