Nissan India are on a roll after the launch of the Micra. They now have firm plans to take more pie from the Indian car market. They plan on launching atleast 11 cars in the Indian markets by 2012. This means that we would get the whole SUV range from Nissan as well as few of their built for India and exported to the world cars. One such car would be the Nissan-Renault-Bajaj Ultra Low Cost car or code-named as the ULC. This car would compete with the Tata Nano and the Hyundai H800.
The Tata Nano was a revolution as far as automobiles were concerned. It pioneered a whole new concept that states that cars don’t have to be pricey to be high-tech. Affordable motoring is what Mr. Tata would have called it. The others are, we would say, inspired by his idea and are planning to launch their own versions of the Tata Nano with their own badges. Nissan is one of them. They have partnered with Bajaj to make this small car. Bajaj as we all know, makes exciting motorcycles and the icing on the cake is the affordability at which those are offered. Nissan couldn’t have found a better partner.
The Nissan Ultra Low Car ULC in India would be built, engineered and developed by Bajaj with inputs by Nissan. However the marketing and sales would be the sole bastion of Nissan and Renault alliance. The starting price point of this car is pegged at Rs 1.06 lakhs. That is really a tall order considering that Bajaj’s Kawasaki Ninja 250 bike retails for Rs. 2.75 lakhs. The Nissan ULC will have a 2 cylinder petrol engine displacing around 634 cc and pumping out 36 Bhp. It would have a mono volume look like the Tata Nano. This actually works on the inside since it liberates much needed head room and in the process leg room for a small car. It is strictly going to be a 4 seater and would be front engined. Bajaj would provide for back-lit instrument switches while Nissan-Renault is said to supply them with engine technology.
Quality would be a notch higher than the Tata Nano as Bajaj would dig into its motorcycles bin and transfer them onto the ULC. Bajaj bikes have been regarded for their quality of workmanship and also reliability. The same should be with the ULC. It is rumored that there would be separate service centers for the ULC and would be managed by Bajaj.
The top speed is said to be limited to 80 km/hr. This means that it would be strictly for city use and can be used on the highway only if you have no other mode of transport and at your own risk. The car would be more efficient than the Tata Nano and would give about 30 kmpl in city use. Highway figures aren’t quoted as Nissan expects that the car wouldn’t be used much on highways. It would sport about 123 liters of boot space as well. This is something from which the Tata Nano shies away from and can be considered a USP of the Nissan Ultra Low Car ULC in India. For the time been, it would be first launched in India and then exported to other markets. It would be made at the Bajaj facility in Chakan, Pune.
This car is expected to be launched around 2012 however Bajaj and Nissan are facing some problem currently regarding the branding of the car and some technical details. Watch out this section for more news on the Nissan-Renault-Bajaj ULC.