Renault ditches a Chinese van joint venture

Photo: EPA

French carmaker Renault announced it was in talks to end a joint venture aimed at building vans in China. The tie-up that is expected to be broken dates back to 2017, Reuters reported. Renault partner was the Chinese state backed Brilliance. The French and Chinese companies set up manufacturing operations in Shenyang, the provincial capital of Liaoning, and set out to make a push into electric commercial vans in particular.

The Chinese market has proved difficult for some foreign producers, but sales were rising right before the Covid-19 pandemic, which trashed the industry. Renault last year ditched its main passenger car business in China following poor sales at its loss-making venture with Dongfeng. But it is making a fresh attempt to crack the market with Geely, announcing in August a hybrid vehicle joint venture. Renault said in a statement its joint venture with Brilliance was still troubled by challenges despite a transformation plan set out in June 2020, but declined to comment on its possible end. "We do not comment on market speculation," it said. "The two shareholders have brought a lot of support to the venture and are in regular contact about the development of the group." Brilliance's parent Huachen Group has defaulted on billions of yuan in debt obligations. Chinese regulators have launched an investigation into possible violations of disclosure laws by the company.

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