Dongfeng-Renault's joint venture will produce SUVs based on Qashqai and X-Trail. First cars will appear in 2016. Electric car based on Zoe tech to follow

Dongfeng and Renault plan to launch a new sub-brand into the Chinese market in 2016, with models including two SUVs, two saloons and an electric car leading the range. The joint venture project is reportedly worth some $1.28 billion.

Previously it was only confirmed that the joint venture - named the Dongfeng-Renault Automotive Company (DRAC) - would see two crossover SUVs launched in the country in two years' time, but now more extensive plans to grow sales in the booming Chinese market have surfaced online.

According to local media reports, the first of the two planned SUVs will be based on the same platform as the last-generation Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail, while the second is said to be an all-new mid-size model based on Renault-Nissan's CMF platform, and powered by an unspecified turbocharged engine. A concept version of the SUV is due to arrive in late 2015.

Dongfeng-Renault will also sell the Renault Fluence and Laguna, but plans to make both models locally rather than import them into the country. Such a move would make the models about 20 per cent cheaper to buy.

Little has been revealed about the electric car, but it is expected to launch in the Chinese market in 2018. It could well feature existing battery technology from the Renault Zoe.

Building work on the firm's first factory is already under way, and is expected to have an initial capacity of 150,000 cars per year - rising to some 600,000 cars annually by the end of the devoid. Renault also plans to grow its existing network of dealers to around 150 by the end of next year.

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Our Verdict

Renault Fluence
There are visual similarities inside and out with the Megane

The Renault Fluenze ZE is a C-segment saloon and is a solid way to kick off Renault's electric vehicle product offensive

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