UPDATE 1-Renault plans swift China production ramp-up

Tue Jul 8, 2014 11:44am EDT

(Adds details, background)

PARIS, July 8 (Reuters) - Renault said on Tuesday it planned to add more Chinese production capacity to its new joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group soon after manufacturing begins in 2016.

The French carmaker, which is currently building a first Chinese factory to produce up to 150,000 vehicles annually, aims to increase its capacity in the country as much as four times, Chief Financial Officer Dominique Thormann said.

"The plan, if we go through appropriate hurdles in the next few years, is to expand our capacity to potentially reach more than 500,000 or even 600,000 units," Thormann told a conference in Paris.

Renault and Dongfeng won Chinese approval in December to begin production in a $1.3 billion joint venture under long-standing plans to introduce locally-assembled Renault models to the world's biggest auto market.

The 50-50 venture builds on the presence of Renault's Japanese alliance partner Nissan, which has its own venture with Dongfeng.

Nissan, 43.4 percent-owned by Renault, has become Dongfeng's most lucrative partner in the decade since their venture was created with explicit provisions for its extension to Renault. (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by Jane Baird and Natalie Huet)