Renault’s sales target and geographical spread for the X-90, its car for developing countries, keep expanding. The French automaker aims to sell about 700,000 X-90s annually by 2010, Renault Chairman Louis Schweitzer says in an Automotive News Europe report. That’s 200,000 more than planned when the project was launched in the late 1990s.
The list of countries in which the X-90 will be built is expanding too. Initially, the X-90 was to be built in Pitesti, Romania, a plant owned by Renault subsidiary Dacia. Renault bought the Romanian carmaker in 1999. Now Renault plans to produce the car at factories in Russia, Morocco, Colombia and Iran – and more countries could be added to the list.
“The X-90 would be suitable in China, Latin America and India,” Schweitzer says.
The X-90 is the latest attempt by a western automaker to launch a so-called “world car,” or, more accurately, a car for emerging markets. The X-90 is also known as the €5,000 car because that is the planned sales price for the entry-level model of the X-90 in developing markets. Fiat introduced the Palio as a world car in the mid-1990s.
But the Palio missed its 1-million-units-a-year sales target by a wide margin.
Analysts says the car failed because it was too expensive and because the design was too bland, plus Fiat insisted on selling hatchbacks in markets where consumers prefer three-box sedans.
Some doubt that the X-90 will be any more successful than the Palio. But Schweitzer is confident it can work. “The Palio’s price was not as low as the X-90’s compared with western European prices,” he says.
The X-90 also is expected to be a medium-sized car, bigger than the Palio, even though it will use the B platform that Renault an its alliance partner Nissan use for small cars.