Renault and Geely earlier today said they would jointly develop vehicles utilising hybrid technology for China and South Korean markets. Renault, ending its partnership with Dongfeng, just exited the Chinese automotive market last year due to poor sales.
As part of the yet-to-be formally announced partnership, Renault would enter the cooperation with Geely by simply re-branding Geely hybrid products as Renault models. However, a much larger collaboration is planned for South Korea, where Renault vehicles are sold as Renault Samsung Motors.
The two automakers are said to explore a joint localisation of Geely’s Lynk & Co brand in South Korea and later expand to fast-growing Asian markets. The report by Reuters also said both companies are looking at developing fully electric vehicles as part of the venture.
The move by Renault is part of their plans to revive their presence in the world’s largest car market, where hybrids or new energy and electrified vehicles (NEEV) are growing at a phenomenal rate. For Zhejiang Geely Holding, the first six months of 2021 saw over 30,000 units of NEEV models sold, representing 5% of the total sales of 630,237 units.
The new venture is said to be modelled on an EV-focused venture Geely set up in 2019 with Daimler, which plants to manufacture and sell Smart-brand EV based on Geely’s highly scalable Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform that is also open-sourced.
This addition of Renault certainly highlights the ongoing appeal of Geely’s business model of being an EV automaker, providing all the necessary development, engineering and manufacturing solutions at a competitive price.
It is however not entirely clear how this will play out for Renault’s alliance partner, Nissan. Both Nissan and Dongfeng currently have a joint-venture in China and both also express their own interest in making electric cars dedicated to the domestic market.