Nissan Motor and its alliance partner Renault are setting up a new joint venture in China with Dongfeng Motor Group to design and build electric cars, joining a list of global automakers aiming to make such vehicles in China.
The automakers are attempting to tap into a boom for such cleaner "new energy" vehicles in the world's biggest auto market and gearing up to meet its anticipated stringent plug-in car quotas.
The new joint venture, called eGT New Energy Automotive Co, will be owned 25 percent each by Nissan and Renault with Dongfeng owning 50 percent, Nissan and Renault said in a statement on Tuesday.
They said eGT will design a new electric vehicle on a subcompact crossover SUV platform of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
"The establishment of the new joint venture with Dongfeng confirms our common commitment to develop competitive electric vehicles for the Chinese market," Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan alliance, said in the statement.
The statement did not give details of financial commitments of the joint venture partners or say by when the vehicles will be launched. Dongfeng already partners Nissan in China.
Both Nissan and Renault already market electric cars. Nissan's Leaf compact hatchback has become the world's top-selling electric car since its launch in 2010, while Renault began selling its Zoe model in 2012.
The game changer for global automakers, many of whom until recently have resisted an industry shift to heavily electrified vehicles, is China - an auto market with strong potential for growth where stringent policies favoring cleaner energy cars are being aggressively pursued.
Sales of pure-electric and gasoline-electric hybrids in China rose 50 percent last year over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles, accounting for 40 percent of global demand. U.S. sales totaled 159,620.
Ford Motor Co. announced last week it was looking at setting up a possible electric car venture with a Chinese partner. General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and other brands also have announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles in China.