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Chinese-branded cars have been rumored as inbound to the U.S. since at least 2008, when Geely showed off its CK sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. Maybe sooner than that, if this abandoned Fuqi Beijing Jeep in Chicago is anything to go by. Yet immature designs, or some other economic or product-related have kept most domestic Chinese branded vehicles in their home markets. Well, it looks like that might just change in the very near future.

Welcome to Headlight. This is a daily news feature that lights up one current event in the car world and breaks it down by three simple subheadings: What Happened, Why It Matters, and What To Look For Next. Look for it in the morning (Eastern time) every weekday.

What Happened?

In multiple reports from Automotive News, InsideEVs, and several Chinese language news sites, Renault has plans to partner with Geely. The resulting alliance will foresee either Geely branded vehicles (or Lynk & Co cars) manufactured in South Korea, via the Renault Samsung factory. The resulting models will be sold globally, namely in the United States.

This new brand will reportedly focus entirely on electric and hybrid vehicles, and would be managed jointly by both Geely and Renault.

Why It Matters

Geely Group, the owner of Volvo, has talked about their goal of selling non-Volvo (or Polestar) branded vehicles in the US for a long time, now. There have been talks since at least 2016 of Geely’s premium brand, Lynk & Co making its way to the United States, for years now. Yet, it, nor any other Chinese brand has made any inroads into the United States. Partially, because before now, well, most Chinese cars were mostly complete crap.

Now, reviews of Chinese-made MGs and Great Wall Motors vehicles show that the massive country’s homegrown efforts are fairly solid. But, steep tariffs and unfavorable trade agreements for vehicles exported out of China have worked to keep Chinese cars in China. A Chinese car made in South Korea, would circumvent Chinese car import tariffs and allow the vehicle to be cost-competitive in the American car market.

Also, the plan saves the Renault-Samsung factory from closing and allows Renault to reintroduce itself to China, after leaving in 2020.

What To Expect Next

It’s too early to say if the Geely, Renault tie-up will concretely result in an entirely new brand, new product, or simply revised Geely products built in Korea, then exported elsewhere. Several sources claim that the Volvo-based Lynk & Co 01 is planned to be built there, allowing for Geely to import it to the United States. Watch this space, you might see a Lynk & Co vehicle on American roads, sooner than you’d think.

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