We’ve heard this probably a million times - a Chinese automaker wants to enter the US new car market with a production model it makes for its domestic market. So far, however, there hasn’t been a single successful launch of a car brand from China in North America, but this could finally change if we are to believe a new rumor.
Reuters was the first to report China’s Geely is in talks with Renault to form a new joint-venture company that will produce vehicles in South Korea. While that may not seem super exciting at a glance, the article, which provides unofficial information sourced from “three people familiar with the matter,” claims this new JV project could give the Chinese automaker a "backdoor entry" into the new car market in the United States.
But how is this going to happen? Geely, which aims to launch its Lynk & Co brand in the US, could take advantage of South Korea's free-trade agreement with the United States and export vehicles manufactured in the Asian country. Just like the rest of the report, this part of the information hasn’t been confirmed so far, but Reuters says the new deal has been in the works since early this year.
For Renault, a potential agreement with Geely could mean a return for the French company in China, a market which it left some two years ago. The potential joint venture company will work mostly on hybrid vehicles based on Geely's existing Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which it shares with Volvo. Renault could also benefit from Geely’s existing supply chains and manufacturing facilities in the People’s Republic.
Gallery: Lynk & Co 01
In return, Geely could gain access to Renault’s South Korean manufacturing network, which the French firm has been operating for two decades under its Samsung brand. According to the report, Geely wants to assemble the Lynk & Co 01 SUV at Renault's plant in the southeastern South Korean port city of Busan and export it to America.