Renault is expected to re-enter a segment it abandoned two years ago when it axed the Scenic with Dacias new Lodgy MPV monovolume

Renault is expected to re-enter a segment it abandoned two years ago when it axed the Scenic with Dacia's new Lodgy MPV 'monovolume'

Lifan has decided to deepen its partnership with Brazilian group Effa which already distributes the Chinese automaker's 320 (which looks something like BMW's Mini) and 620 sedan models here.

With an initial spend of US$120m, the joint venture will extend imports to four new products, will refurbish and extend its assembly unit in Uruguay and build a new factory in Brazil.

Lifan did not detail the Brazilian factory site, the model to be produced, nor its total planned investment but promised all would be revealed by March after the Brazilian government decides how to incentivise newcomer automakers starting from scratch to achieve 65% local content, considered hard to reach.

BMW, ready and willing to build a local assembly plant, is also awaiting more information from the the government. German industry paper Automobilewoche has said the chosen factory site is Joinville, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, as just-auto expected, but there's been no official announcement yet.

Meanwhile, in the south, Renault is considering producing - at its São José dos Pinhais, Paraná state plant - one more version of the Logan/Sandero family. Leading candidate is the Lodgy 'monovolume' (MPV/minivan due to make its public debut at the Geneva show next March. Local speculations suggests the model will be launched here by the end of this year.

Renault axed the Mégane Scénic almost two years ago, abandoning a model segment it established here in 2001, and is now apparently keen to re-enter it.

The only uncertainty is whether the monovolume market has shrunk due to lack of new models or if potential buyers have migrated for good to SUVs or even medium-compact sedans.

The compact monovolume market will see, in four months, the local replacements for the C-segment Chevrolet [Opel] Zafira and B-segment Meriva. General Motors local unit will now sell a new, single five- or seven-seat model on the GSV (global small vehicle) architecture launched here under the Cobalt small sedan late last November.

JAC has recently started offering its J6 crossover at a 'Chinese' [much lower than segment norm] price but sales have not improved so far.

May 2011 management briefing: BRIC markets review – Brazil