Electric car venture in China: Renault to invest in Jiangling

The Renault SA logo sits on a sign in the window of the automaker’s flagship store on the Champs Elysee in Paris, France. (Bloomberg pic)

PARIS: Renault SA will invest €128.5 million (US$144 million) for a 50% stake in a venture with Jiangling Motors Corp. to develop electric vehicles in China.

The entity was created in 2015 and already holds certification to manufacture battery-electric passenger cars, according to a statement from the French carmaker Wednesday.

It aims to grow quickly and become a “prominent player” in the Chinese market, Renault said.

“This partnership in electric vehicle business with JMCG will support our growth plan in China and our EV capabilities,” Francois Provost, head of the China region at Renault, said in the statement.

Renault, which has had a limited presence in China, is pushing ahead with an electrification strategy that includes a new battery-powered car that will go on sale in China along with a plan to make hybrid versions of three of its existing models.

Last year it unveiled the K-ZE, an electric SUV-like car that will be made in China and have a range of 250 kilometres. It’s being manufactured through a separate joint venture between Dongfeng Motor Corp. and Renault’s alliance partner Nissan Motor Co.

Renault also has plans to invest more than €1 billion to boost its production of electric cars in France – a move that was aimed at smoothing relations with the French government, its biggest shareholder.

It’s among carmakers spending billions of dollars to shift to battery-powered vehicles from diesel engines as the industry responds to a tightening of European emissions rules.

In China, global automakers have been expanding cooperation with local new-energy vehicle makers to meet the government’s regulations on fuel consumption that were put in place this year.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information, automakers and importers are evaluated each year for both fuel consumption of traditional cars and the output of electric powered ones.

The plan to expand in the world’s biggest auto market comes amid a crisis in Renault’s two-decade partnership with Nissan.

The Japanese company has resisted efforts to combine and held back support for Renault’s failed plan to merge with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.