PARIS (Reuters) -- Renault will make "massive investments" in China where it sees its market share rising as high as 6 percent after the company ramps up sales of locally-built vehicles in the world's biggest car market.
Renault trails rivals such as Volkswagen and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen in expanding in China. Instead it has relied on strong sales of its small cars in Europe and other emerging markets to help cope with the shaky global economy.
Renault sold just 34,000 cars in China last year, compared with PSA's 734,000 sales, but the company believes its fortunes will change once it starts selling vehicles next year through a joint venture with China's Dongfeng Motor.
"In China, we will have a minimum of 3 percent and very likely 6 percent of the market," Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn told reporters on Monday. "That's a lot of cars, and that means you can expect a massive investment program in China in the coming years," he added, declining to give figures.
Renault is building a Chinese factory in Wuhan with an initial production capacity of 100,000 vehicles. The automaker aims to quickly ramp up output to more than 500,000 cars.
The company says it is on target to launch its first locally manufactured vehicle in China, a compact crossover, in 2016. "Construction of the facility has been completed, and the assembly lines are currently being installed," Renault said in a statement last month.