French carmakers look to China with investment deals

20 February 2019

20 February 2019

Two French vehicle manufacturers have signed deals to invest in Chinese companies as carmakers look to the Far East to bolster their businesses.

PSA Group has invested in used car supply chain management and transaction service provider FengChe. The company provides a used car management and sales operations system, B2B transaction platforms and strategic used car business advice to OEMs, dealership groups, used car markets and large and medium-sized used car dealers.

The move is part of PSA Group’s plans to step up its international expansion in the used car business.

FengChe aims to improve used car dealers’ business operations and profitability by providing customers with an integrated solution, including a reliable used car appraisal system, business process management, sourcing channel management, used car online and offline sales operations, dealer inventory monitoring, auto financing and after-sales management.

Marc Lechantre, Senior Vice President of the Used Vehicles Business Unit at PSA Group, commented: ′The FengChe investment is an important next step for PSA Group as part of the Push to Pass plan to increase our international footprint and revenues. We are very confident that in FengChe we have found a strong, dynamic partner who we believe will be a major player in the Chinese automotive market.’

Renault moves

Meanwhile, Alliance Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, has announced a new investment in PowerShare, an electric vehicle (EV) charging platform start-up based in China.

PowerShare provides an online platform that connects EV drivers, charge point operators and power suppliers to streamline the charging experience. It offers a cloud-based system, enabling suppliers to monitor the electricity demand from vehicles and drivers to find available charging stations.

PowerShare is the most recent addition to the Alliance Ventures portfolio in the field of early-stage development and is at the cutting edge of next-generation systems for the automotive industry.

François Dossa, Alliance Global Vice President, Ventures and Open Innovation, said: ′PowerShare’s expertise fits with the Alliance’s objective to maintain our leadership in vehicle electrification. A solid infrastructure network must be established to accelerate the deployment of EVs and new mobility services, and we expect Powershare’s technology to help make that happen. Additionally, PowerShare’s base in China aligns with our strong focus on the market as a strategic hub.’

The investment in PowerShare follows ten other Alliance Ventures investments, including start-ups based in North America, Europe and China, all with a focus on contributing to the future of mobility.

EU carmakers are increasing their ties with Chinese businesses, a move signalled by an agreement between the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).