PARIS -- Renault and China's Geely Automobile Holdings are working to finalize a deal to bring Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco in as an investor and partner to develop and supply gasoline engines and hybrid technologies, three people with knowledge of the talks said.
The Saudi oil producer has been involved in advanced discussions to take a stake of up to 20 percent in a previously announced but still-unnamed Geely-Renault powertrain technology company that the automakers are working to establish, the three people told Reuters.
According to a document prepared by the companies and viewed by Reuters, the aim is to establish this year a powertrain company with a production capacity of more than 5 million "low-emission and hybrid engines and transmissions" annually.
That investment by Aramco would leave Renault and Geely with 40 percent each in the joint venture, which would combine a carve-out of the French automaker's existing combustion-engine production with Geely's gasoline and hybrid technology and related assets, the people told Reuters.
Renault and Geely both declined to comment.
Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
The new joint-venture – codenamed "Horse" by Renault and "Rubik" by Geely – is aiming to develop more-efficient gasoline engines and hybrid systems at a time when the focus of much of the automobile industry has been on the capital-intensive transition to full-electric vehicles, two of the people said.
The financial terms of the potential investment by Aramco in the JV were not immediately known.
According to the document, Aramco's investment would be used to support development of decarbonization technologies for gasoline engines.
Aramco would also contribute to research and development of powertrain technologies, especially synthetic fuel solutions and next-generation hydrogen technologies, the document said.
The people who described the outline of the deal being negotiated asked not to be named because it had not been announced.
Last year, Aramco announced a partnership with Hyundai Motor to study advanced fuels that could be used in hybrid engines to reduce a vehicle's CO2 emissions.