Can Renault build a $3,000 car?
No. Carlos Ghosn told reporters yesterday that Renault does intend to produce a $3,000 car in conjunction with an Indian motor scooter maker and that the car might be sold in Western markets eventually. But, Ghosn’s deal with Bajaj Auto is still purely speculative, and there hasn’t even been development work undertaken at either manufacturer. Moreover, Renault apparently is counting on Bajaj to do the marketing and distribution of the car.
So, from a mental mirage in the mind of Carlos Ghosn, he then projects selling this non-existent car in the United States, possibly as a Nissan. “The big question is: Can you have this car outside of India? We don’t have enough data yet.” The image of $3,000 Nissans selling in the United States is a fascinating one: apparently Ghosn hasn’t checked the costs lately for deformable body structures, side curtain air bags, tire pressure sensors and other federally mandated safety equipment. It can’t be much below what he’s claiming will be the price of this car.
It is even more fascinating to hear Ghosn say that an Indian motor scooter manufacturer is going to develop and build this financial miracle on wheels. Apparently, building a $3,000 car is actually quite simple, so simple that it can be accomplished in a country with one of the world’s highest poverty rates and which has not yet figured out how to compete in the global marketplace for motor scooters. (Indian manufacturers have developed in large part by the creating of tariffs by the Indian government designed to shield local companies from foreign competition.)
Ghosn still seems to believe that he’s the glamorous auto executive who swooped in to save Nissan, and made the company fashionable and profitable. But, he’s not. He’s the executive who has failed to make Renault anything more than it was, and who has allowed Nissan to slip in sales and profitability. He’s shown no particular level of future vision in either company, and neither is doing anything particularly well (though Nissan’s not doing particularly badly, either, except in comparison to Toyota and Honda).
But, if Renault ever figures out how to use hot air as a fuel, as long as Ghosn is around, they should have it made.