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Renault and Geely team up to bolster Busan plant

French firm to co-develop new models produced on Chinese partner’s CMA platform

24 Jan 2022

THE Renault Group has signed a deal with Geely to produce a range of models based on the Chinese multinational’s CMA platform at the Renault-Samsung assembly facility in Busan by 2024. 


This raises the likelihood of the French manufacturer introducing more South Korean-made products in Australia in a few years’ time.  


Renault and Geely will also collaborate in mainland China, after the former recently dissolved its main joint venture there with Dongfeng.


This development is a timely fillip for Renault-Samsung Motors, which saw its sales figures decline by 36 per cent between 2020 and 2021, Automotive News reports.


The French multinational’s joint-venture deal with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – the parent company of Volvo and sub-brands such as Polestar, Lynk & CO, Lotus, Smart and London Electric Vehicle Company – entails that the parties will design and build internal-combustion and hybrid vehicles for both local and export markets.


The new cars will be based on Geely's Compact Modular Architecture, which also underpins Volvo’s XC40 and C40; Lynk & CO’s 01 (and other models sold in China), the recently launched Polestar 2 and various Geely-branded vehicles in the People’s Republic. 


It supports internal-combustion, full- or plug-in hybrid and BEV drivetrains.


"This collaboration marks a further step in efforts by the two automobile groups in producing low-emission models, as well as increasing their penetration in the Asian hybrid electric vehicle markets," the companies said in statement.


In Australia, Renault’s distribution rights were transferred to independent vehicle importer Ateco last year after the French company had suffered several years of sales decline under the management of the French brand’s official subsidiary. 


Renault's sales figures in our market subsequently increased slightly year-on-year by the end of 2021, but one of the keys to its growth prospects will be the renewal of the brand’s rather limited passenger vehicle line-up. 


The French marque already sources two of its models – the new coupe-styled Arkana small SUV and the ageing Koleos medium SUV from Renault-Samsung’s Busan plant in South Korea.


For 2022, the French brand intends to introduce mainly commercial vehicles, in the shapes of the Kangoo and its solely battery-powered E-Tech Electric variant as well as an updated version of the Trafic. The battery-electric Megane medium SUV/ crossover is under consideration for Australia but may only arrive here in 2023.


However, it’s very likely that a number of new – particularly partly or fully electrified – Renault passenger vehicles – could be sourced from the French group’s South Korean subsidiary for introduction in the Australian market in about two to three years’ time. 


Bear in mind that vehicles on which the upcoming models will be based (such as the XC40 and the C40 BEV) are either already here or coming soon…


This new joint venture also raises the possibility of a closer alignment between the Volvo Group brands and Renault’s local networks in the not-too-distant future.


Geely-owned Polestar recently arrived on Australian soil and launched its 2 sedan and, last year, GoAuto reported that Lynk and CO was likely to be introduced here in 2025.

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