Renault may one day use capacity at Japanese affiliate Nissan Motor to make the low-priced, hot-selling Logan car, Renault's product planning chief told Reuters on Wednesday.

Renault is building or plans to make Logans alone or with partners around the world. It is now mainly made by its Dacia unit in Romania.

Patrick Pelata, executive vice president of product planning and programmes, told the news agency countries with Renault manufacturing operations such as Romania, Brazil, Morocco, Colombia, Russia, Turkey, India and Iran offered potential for the no-frills family car.

"Opportunities on top of that are countries which look interesting for Logan and where Nissan has manufacturing facilities," he reportedly said at the Tokyo motor show.

"By utilising eventually plants of Nissan, we can think of South Africa, where Nissan has a plant (and) we would obviously do something in Mexico, where they also have a plant, eventually in China, where they have a brilliant plant, and Iran," he added.

"I am basically talking about all cars, but obviously Logan is the best asset we have there."

Reuters noted that Renault owns 44% of Nissan and that sales of the Logan are well ahead of expectations and seen hitting 150,000 units in 2005 and more than 200,000 in 2006. Current expansion plans would take Logan production to one million units a year.

The car was originally envisioned for emerging markets, but Renault has also launched it in western Europe, where young families have seen it as an affordable alternative to used cars, Pelata told the news agency, adding that Renault was looking to expand its manufacturing capacity and to extend the Logan range of products, too, tapping a solid product at a time the top end of its product line-up has struggled.

Asked if the Logan was Renault's future, he reportedly said: "I am sure it is part of the future. I am not sure if it is big or small."

Reuters said Pelata declined to reveal details of chief executive Carlos Ghosn's master plan for Renault, due to be unveiled in February but he said the revamp would shed light on its small car strategy after Renault delayed the successor to its Twingo model given sluggish sales for the Modus.

"Everything will have to be clarified by February 9, so that (small car strategy) is going to be a healthy part of the plans that Carlos Ghosn will announce," he told Reuters.

Asked if Ghosn would announce the Twingo successor then, he said: "Yes, or that we don't do it because we have a better plan."

Reuters said that Renault recently launched the Clio III compact car, built in France, but will continue to sell the cheaper Slovenian-built (Novo Mesto) Clio II under the Campus name for several more years.

Just-auto notes that it did something similar when the Clio replaced the 5 in the early 1990s.

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