Renault’s China executive believes SUVs and Nissan could be key to winning market image

The French automaker has struggled for years to make a name for itself on the Chinese market, the world’s biggest, but now believes it has found the right strategy to finally succeed.

Renault wants to become a top player in the crucial market as it started to manufacture locally two SUVs and playing on the strength of its alliance partner Nissan, a well established name on the Chinese market. In 2014, Renault only delivered 34,000 units from import in China, which is a long way down from the assumed long-term target of 700,000 to 750,000 autos. To start making progress, the French company is gearing for production early next year at its first Chinese plant, located in Wuhan, Hubei province. It will build there the Chinese version of the new Kadjar compact SUV and a new generation of the Koleos large crossover. Jacques Daniel, a company veteran and the leader of Chinese operations since February 2013 says playing the SUV card will be a boon – the segment jumped 52 percent in sales from the figures seen last year.

Additionally, the Kadjar compact SUV will not be underpinned by the new CMF-C/D architecture used for the European variant, rather than the P32 platform that was used for the older Nissan Qashqai and current generation X-Trail. The executive explains the move was done to profit from the partnership with Nissan, as the Greenfield factory will begin production of the model with around 85 percent component localization, a great achievement for the first locally outputted model. The 150,000 units plant capacity will be spread equally between the compact SUV and the larger crossover designed to replace the imported Koleos.

Via Automotive News Europe