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Renault-Nissan, India’s Bajaj Auto to produce low-cost car

Global automaker Renault-Nissan and India’s motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto have agreed on setting up a joint venture to produce a low-cost car, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

“The partners will establish a joint venture to develop, produce and sell a car tentatively named ULC whose wholesale price will start from $2,500,” the joint statement said. Analysts say the move comes in response to a project by the Indian automaker Tata Motors, which presented a car costing $2,500, excluding taxes, at the Delhi auto show in January. Tata intends to produce “the world’s cheapest vehicle,” Nano, in the fall of 2008.

India’s Bajaj Auto will hold 50% of shares in the Indian-Japanese-French Joint Venture while Renault and Nissan will possess 25% each. The budget car to be produced by Renault-Nissan and Bajaj Auto is intended for the rapidly growing Indian market and can eventually be sold on other developing markets. The auto factory to be built in the western Indian state of Maharashtra will produce about 400,000 cars a year at the first stage. Sales are expected to begin in 2011. (