Dec 162012

PARIS: Renault’s move into low-cost cars, which has kept the French automaker afloat as mass-market peers drown in European losses, may soon help it sink competitors beyond the old continent.

That is the long game for Gerard Detourbet, the man behind the no-frills Logan and other “Entry” models, who has a new mission: to devise an even cheaper vehicle programme for India that can compete with such champions of frugality as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.

If he pulls off the challenge set by Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, it could then give his carmaking alliance a new weapon with which to undercut rivals in emerging markets around the globe.

Detourbet, 66, moved to Chennai early this year and has been quietly building an Indian supplier network and crack team of local executives, including several lured away from the competition.

“We don’t set out to poach people, but it happens that they sometimes come to us from Suzuki and Hyundai,” Detourbet said in a recent interview during a return visit to

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