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Carlos Ghosn Promises Revival in India Plans

The Renault-Nissan chief says with the global auto market stabilizing, the company is lifting its investment freeze in India and expects its Chennai plant to open in early 2010

Renault-Nissan big boss Carlos Ghosn admitted his partnerships in India are not going well, but went on to add that the freeze on Renault's investments in India are over now that the global automobile market has stabilised.

"The Chennai plant will be up on time with a very fast ramp-up," Mr. Ghosn said on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on Sunday. "We had suspended the second phase until we could see where the global car market would end up. Now, in view of estimates that the year will end with around 60 million units, up from around 55 million last year, we seem to have hit a plateau. So all plans of expansion can be resumed with a more solid understanding of the future. The Chennai plant will be inaugurated in early 2010 and I will be there for it," he added.

Lifting the investment freeze will also coincide with a serious effort on the part of Renault-Nissan to talk to its partners and figure out where things went wrong. "I am not saying all our partnerships are going exactly as we want them to go," Mr. Ghosn said. "We have been questioned by some performances but we are talking to our partners on what's the best way ahead and what we can learn from our mistakes so we can envision better relationships in future," he added.

Talking about the failure of the Logan sedan and his relationship with partner Mahindra, Mr. Ghosn said: "True the Logan is not doing well. But we are also talking to Mahindras to find some solutions. I am convinced not only about the potential of the Indian market but about India as an exporter and most important as a participant in the engineering and product planning effort of Renault-Nissan," he said.

The group's India foray has been humbling, he said. However he didn't expect to get it right the first time round itself.

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