Renault is already planning a cheaper replacement for its successful, low cost, no-frills Logan with partner Nissan, even though it does not expect a serious rival until at least 2009.

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn told analysts he was thinking about the next Logan generation and another car selling for $US3,000 (GBP1,500 pounds), Reuters reported.

"We have had contacts with Bajaj and that was about the $3,000 car, but we are still in a phase of making up our minds," a Renault spokeswoman later told the news agency.

Renault finance director Thierry Moulonguet was quoted as saying that, despite investment in new production facilities in various emerging market, the Logan was adding to group profits and would reach 5 to 6% margin in 2009. Its success had prompted other car makers such as Toyota, Honda, Fiat and Volkswagen to look at launching a cheap car, the news agency noted.

"I do not expect a serious rival to Logan until at least 2009, 2010," Ghosn reportedly told analysts. "I am feeling comfortable because we have an advantage and we need to keep that advantage," he said.

The model now comes in three versions - sedan, wagon and van  - and there have been reports Renault Brazil will make a hatchback version, too. The automaker sold 159,000 Logans worldwide in the first half of 2007, up 28.6%.

Talking about the $3,000 car, Ghosn said Renault and Nissan were working on a vehicle that would need a break with traditional car design and manufacturing processes, Reuters said.

The two groups plan to partner with an Indian vehicle maker to develop such a car - they are already working with Mahindra & Mahindra to build Logan in India, the report noted.

Ghosn has repeatedly said India was a natural place to develop a cheap car because engineers there were more frugal than elsewhere, Reuters added.