Saudi Aramco set to sign deal to invest in Geely-Renault engines venture

Saudi Aramco set to sign deal to invest in Geely-Renault engines venture
Saudi Aramco has agreed to take a minority stake in Renault Group and Geely’s planned combustion-engine venture as the oil giant seeks to expand into transport technologies.
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The joint venture is aimed at developing more-efficient gasoline engines and hybrid systems [source: Getty]

Oil giant Saudi Aramco is preparing to join carmakers Geely and Renault in a new joint venture in hybrid and internal-combustion vehicles, the three firms said Thursday.

Aramco has signed a letter of intent "to become a potential minority stakeholder" in the subsidiary, the joint statement said.

French automaker Renault said in November it was teaming up with China's Geely to develop and produce engines, gearboxes and other components for hybrid, petrol and diesel vehicles.

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The 50-50 partnership called "Horse" was announced as part of a sweeping overhaul at Renault as it expands its electric vehicle business.

Aramco's investment will "contribute to key research and development across synthetic fuels solutions and next-gen hydrogen technologies", according to the statement.

Renault chief executive Luca de Meo said the Aramco partnership would give the joint venture "a head start in the race towards ultra-low-emissions ICE (internal-combustion engine) powertrain technology".

"Aramco's entry brings to the table unique know-how that will help develop breakthrough innovations in the fields of synthetic fuels and hydrogen," de Meo said in the statement.

The new "Horse" subsidiary will have 19,000 employees in Europe, China and South America, with 17 factories and five shared research and development centres.