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All major car brands have joint venture production in China, and it’s a case of better late than never for Renault. The French brand’s joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp has won the Chinese government’s approval, the state-owned Chinese automaker said yesterday. To be headquartered in the central China city of Wuhan, the JV will be a 50-50 partnership.

Renault, which has been importing CBU cars to China, will be dreaming of one big happy family. Alliance partner Nissan has operated a joint venture with Dongfeng in Wuhan for 10 years. Nissan is the top-selling Japanese automaker in China, and has delivered more than one million vehicles in the world’s biggest auto market.

The Dongfeng-Renault assembly plant, with an investment of 7.8 billion yuan (RM4.2b), will have the capacity for 150,000 vehicles plus an equal number of engines. It will produce Renault-designed petrol-powered vehicles and some electric or plug-in hybrids, as well as Dongfeng brand vehicles. No mention when the venture will start production, though.

Interestingly, Dongfeng has been linked to a big stake in PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault’s financially-troubled French rival, and talks are still ongoing.