Renault to double India investment to $5 billion

Franco-Japanese auto alliance Renault-Nissan said Tuesday it will double its investments in India to $5 billion over the next five years as it seeks to grab market share.

The investment will be spent in such areas as launching new products and adding fresh production capacity in the South Asian giant.

The alliance also announced plans for a new global vehicle platform, developed from scratch in India for high-growth emerging markets.

"We have been investing in India," Renault-Nissan alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn told reporters in the southern city of Chennai.

"There are so many products coming. Nissan has already said 10 cars by 2016 and Renault is also planning to bring many more. So our overall investments of $2.5 billion in India will double in the next five years," Ghosn said.

With its new products, including its relaunched Datsun brand for India, the alliance is aiming to have a 15 percent market share in a few years, Ghosn said, without specifying a time frame.

The first car from the new vehicle platform will roll out from the Chennai plant in 2015 and two products are already being planned on it, he said, adding it could be under any badge -- Renault, Nissan or Datsun -- of the alliance.

He said the alliance was still working on an ultra-low-cost car "not only for India but for all the high growth markets".

Ghosn added he was bullish on the Indian market which has been going through a tough period, with sales shrinking last year for the first time in a decade against the backdrop of a sharply slowing economy.

"India will be among the top five global markets for Renault and among the top 10 for Nissan in future," Ghosn said.

In India, which has a population of 1.2 billion and where global automakers see the greatest potential, car owners represent just 15 out of 1,000 people, while in the United States, 500 out of every 1,000 people own cars.