Nissan Could Sell $3000 Car Worldwide
And yes, that includes the United States…
By Brendan Moore
Carlos Ghosn, the irrepressible interview subject that he is, said today at the Tokyo Auto Show that he thinks the $3000 car that Nissan is developing with Bajaj, an Indian motorcycle manufacturer, could be sold everywhere in the world, including the United States.
Indian manufacturer Tata plans on bringing their own $3000 car to market in 2008 and Renault is racing to match their imminent offering.
“Even if you have to reinforce the car” to meet U.S. crash-safety regulations and add features, “you’re starting with a $3,000 car,” Ghosn said. That low price leaves headroom to push up the cost, and thus the price, and still undercut the cheapest cars sold in many other markets, he said.
“What’s the cheapest car sold in America — $10,000? Between 3 and 10 is a large difference,” he said.
Yes, all those statements are true, but Nissan (and Carlos Ghosn) said just six months ago that they were not considering selling the Nissan Aprio (aka the Renault Logan) in the United States because it would dilute Nissan’s brand image. The Renault Logan, also sold as the Dacia Logan, is the entry-level car that has taken the world by storm, morphing into a huge hit for Renault and one of the company’s biggest sellers. The Nissan Aprio will be sold in Mexico shortly for around $9000 MSRP.
So, if a $9000 car is too cheap for Nissan to sell in the U.S., how can a $3000 car now be OK to sell in the States?
Part of the reason is that Ghosn has taken a good look around and figured out that Chinese cars will here in the U.S. in the next few years. India can make a car as cheaply as China can, whether that car ends up being priced at $3000, $5000 or $7000. Ghosn wants Nissan to be in that mix, so it’s no surprise that he’s talking up his project entry-level car from India. And how much longer will Nissan be able to resist selling the higher-priced, but still ridiculously cheap Logan in the United States, considering it will be available right across the border shortly?
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