Renault, Nissan and Dongfeng Launch JV To Bring Electric SUV To China

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will be entering China’s growing electric car market through a joint venture alliance with Dongfeng Motor Group Co.

Called eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd., the new JV will tap into the full potential presented by each of the three automakers. Donfeng will open the door to what’s expected in China’s “new energy vehicle” market.

The three companies will work jointly and build the first model on an small A-segment SUV platform from the Renault-Nissan Alliance. It will start production in 2019.

The design team will tap into what it calls “intelligent interconnectivity,” which will make sure the latest connectivity and automated technologies expected by consumers are included.

Renault-Nissan Alliance describes the advantages that the JV brings as Renault and Nissan offering expertise in EV technologies and efficient car design experience. It will be combined with the financial gains of Donfeng bringing down the cost of manufacturing.

Renault-Nissan Alliance seems to agree with competitors – China’s new energy vehicle market is a necessity these days for global automakers to enter.

“The establishment of the new joint venture with Dongfeng confirms our common commitment to develop competitive electric vehicles for the Chinese market,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO. “We are confident to meet the expectations of the Chinese customers and to strengthen our global electric vehicle leadership position.”

Dongfeng Chairman Zhu Yanfeng emphasized the cost benefits and technology expectations in the Chinese market.

“We expect to meet the transformation trend of the market in China; where cars are becoming light, electric, intelligent, interconnected and shared. This is also testimony of a deepened and strengthened strategic cooperation between the three parties,” he said.

The three automakers have been working together for years, with a jointly owned plant already in place.

In October, Gérard Detourbet, a Renault chief engineer told French financial newspaper Les Echos that he’d been spending time there researching how to launch a low-cost electric car in the market.

According to a Forbes analysis piece, the A-segment SUV platform will probably come from Renault’s CMF-A platform used in the Renault A-segment Kwid and in Datsun’s redi-Go. That could be why Detourbet has been traveling a lot to China lately, which would meet Ghosn’s requirement to roll out a low-cost EV, according to the piece.

Donfeng also offers a few SUV models, including the AX7 seen above. The Dongfeng Fengguang 580 SUV was a show piece at last year’s Beijing Auto Show.

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Ghosn has been pleased to see EV sales remain fairly strong for the Renault and Nissan brands, but wants them to be even more competitive and winning back the EV market leading title from Tesla and Chevrolet.

Evidence of that comes from the alliance building its leading EV models, the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, off of a common platform in the next few years. Ghosn wants to see the brands to stay competitive while tapping into economies of scale.

The all-electric cars will continue to have different exteriors, but their electric motors and other parts will be shared, Arnaud Deboeuf, senior vice president of Renault-Nissan BV, said in December during a media interview.


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