50 Series tooling shipped to China
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• Renault has sold the entire tooling for the old 50 Series to RDS Automotive of Leamington Spa, which will use it to set up a light trucks project in China. RDS Automotive will dismantle, ship and re-assemble the entire 50 Series production line from Dunstable to China.
RDS is working with an unnamed Chinese partner, already involved in commercial vehicle manufacture. Production will be near the city of Wuhan and is expected to begin around mid1996. A spokesman for RDS says: "We'll be doing well if we produce around 20,000 in the first two years."
Renault will have no involvement with the project and the vehicles will not carry Renault or 50 Series badges.
The vehicles will be powered by locally sourced engines and sold only in the Peoples Republic of China.
Production of the Perkins Phaser powered 3.5 to 7.5-tonner ceased at Dunstable in Spring 1993. Perkins already has a joint venture project for engine production in China.
The vehicle dates back to a US Dodge van which first appeared in the late 1950s. Parts for the 50 Series will continue to be available from Dunstable; Renault says it has plenty in stock for future needs.