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Nissan/Renault To Enter The Micro Death-Trap Race

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On: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 6:06PM | By: John Welch

Nissan/Renault To Enter The Micro Death-Trap Race

They have the Micra. They have the Twingo. Though larger than those two cars, the Verse could even be included. Yet Nissan and Renault is dead set on building an even smaller, even cheaper auto by 2012. Not extremely relevant to us, assuming you overlook the decline in new car markets among the developed world.

India currently moves 2 million cars a year. By 2019, that number could be over six million. These are inexpensive cars, so the profit margin is low; why care so much about cars you can't make very much money on? Well, if you aren't spending all that much to produce them, you are making money, hand over fist . . .

India doesn't adhere to the same PC ideals we Americans worship so much. Saftey? Phhffttt, you can pound your saftey! Creature comforts? What is this, the Rivera?! Because car makers are able to leave out all the things that make our cars heavy and thirsty, they are able to

A. Empower an entire region with the freedom of the automobile,

B. Make obscene amounts of money based on how cheap the vehicles were to produce in the first place (think four-wheeled transportation manufactured with two-wheeled processes and materials),

C. Set back the western world's "Emissions Crusade" by thirty years. I ain't big on PC-hysteria, but that is probably not a good thing!

So Mr. Carlos Ghosn, illustrious pit-boss of Nissan/Renault, had decided that he wants in on this lucrative market. Teaming with rickshaw-maker Bajaj Auto, Ghosn plans to be selling the least expensive and most fuel efficient car in India by the end of 2011 . . err, no, the end of 2012. There have been setbacks, most noteably the fact that Nissan, Renault, nor Bajaj has ever produced a vehicle of this nature in the past.

“We need an entry price point that is very competitive, and we don’t have that entry price point,” said Mr. Ghosn at a recent World Economic Forum conference. “I don’t want Renault and Nissan to be makers of very pretty cars that people dream about but cannot afford.” At least some auto executives are freaking aware of the world's economic crisis; I'm lookin' at you, Whitacre!

What is Nissan's competition? These guys:

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