Renault to Roll Out 20 New Models in Global Assault

Brazil is one of the strategic markets for the future, along with Russia, China and India says Ghosn.

In an aggressive global strategy to turn around stagnating sales French carmaker Renault is to unveil 20 new models next year -- including several low-cost autos -- the company said Dec. 19.

Company chief Carlos Ghosn told a media conference in Brazil that Renault was also looking at making a new budget car in India costing just $3,000 to compete against the local manufacturer Bajaj. "The big question is what will have to be done to bring this car up to export quality. It will have to be modified, sure -- and what will be the cost of these modifications so it's viable?" Ghosn said. He added that, "logically, Brazil would be a natural market" for such a car.

Later on Dec. 19, Ghosn -- who was born in Brazil -- was to unveil Renault's first car made outside of Europe to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The vehicle, the Sandero, is being built in a Brazilian factory for the national market and for export to neighboring South American countries.

The French auto group already brought out seven new models last year. A senior Renault executive said Renault's worldwide sales so far this year "are staying practically stable compared to 2006, with a drop of 0.1%."

Non-European sales -- accounting for a third of the total -- are strongest, with nearly 15% growth. In Brazil, sales have jumped 43%, making it one of the top performing countries for the company, even though it holds just three percent of the market.

More than 73,000 of its cars are expected to have been sold in Brazil by the end of the year. Brazil "is one of the strategic markets (for Renault) for the future, along with Russia, China and India," Ghosn said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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