Renault and Geely are said to be very close to signing a joint venture agreement that would allow the latter to start manufacturing vehicles in South Korea, with the possible end goal of exporting them duty-free to the United States. The joint venture has not been signed yet, but it is reportedly very close to being made official, after talks began early in 2021.
Various sources, including Automotive News, report that the joint venture will soon be officially announced, possibly along with a new brand. Renault will reportedly handle the design of the new vehicle, which is rumored to be built on the CMA platform, as well as marketing and sales in China.
Geely also wants to start building the Lynk & Co 01 crossover at the Renault-Samsung plant located in the industrial city of Busan, in South Korea. This vehicle is available with regular gasoline-burning, hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains, and it looks like Geely wants to build the first two in Korea and set up local part supply chains to make everything work.
The source also points out that this joint venture would grant Geely ‘backdoor entry’ to the US market, the easiest way for the Chinese giant to reach American shores with its cars (although, in a way, it actually already has, because it fully owns Volvo). But what does Renault get out of all this?
Well, the French giant has not been present in China for over a year now and it would be its way of reentering the massive Chinese market, or just a way of getting a better foothold in that part of Asia. Right now, neither of the two manufacturers has said anything about the deal, but they are expected to officially announce their partnership soon.