October 16, 2018 / 3:12 PM / a year ago

Renault-Brilliance plans electric vans to buck China slowdown

The Renault logo is pictured during the second press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Renault and Chinese partner Brilliance plan to launch three electric delivery vans in two years, seeking to capitalize on robust growth in China’s commercial vehicle market and city center driving curbs on combustion engines.

The battery vans will be part of a seven-model product offensive announced on Tuesday for the Renault-Brilliance joint venture, created last December.

The first two electric vans are to be introduced as commercial and passenger versions under Brilliance’s Jinbei brand, starting with an all-electric update of its F50 model. A battery-powered Renault vehicle to follow in 2020.

“Now with the expertise of Renault in electrified technology we will get it into the zero-emissions (zones) for last-mile deliveries,” Ashwani Gupta, commercial vehicles chief for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, told reporters on a call.

The Chinese auto market overall shrank for the third consecutive month in September, recording its biggest year-on-year decline in seven years.

But Renault expects commercial vehicle sales growth to stay resilient, Gupta said, with an 11 percent expansion to 3.2 million vehicles this year and a further 8-9 percent in 2019.

Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Richard Lough

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