Stellantis to sell Chinese Leapmotor in EU from September

Schermafbeelding 2024 05 15 om 10.17.54 1

The Stellantis Group and Chinese electric car manufacturer Leapmotor have finalized the establishment of their joint venture and announced that Leapmotor International would commence operations in Europe in September 2024.

The market launch in Europe will initially start in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, and Romania. Both sides have announced that 200 sales outlets will be established by the end of the year, followed by 500 by 2026.

The expansion into the India, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and South America regions is also planned for the fourth quarter of 2026. As far as product priorities are concerned, the T03 and C10 models will be launched on the market first under Leapmotor International, followed by the introduction of at least one further model per year over the next three years.

Leapmotor International

Stellantis announced at the end of October that it was investing in Leapmotor and acquiring a 20% stake in the Chinese company for €1.5 billion. The deal is intended to boost Leapmotor’s sales in China and Europe and is based on the establishment of the aforementioned joint venture called Leapmotor International.

It was already known that Stellantis would hold 51% and Leapmotor 49% of the joint venture. When announcing the plans, both sides also announced that the joint venture would have “exclusive rights to export, sell, and manufacture Leapmotor products outside Greater China”. The management team, based in Amsterdam, will be led by CEO Tianshu Xin, the former head of Stellantis’ China business.

The joint venture aims to sell 500,000 electric cars outside China by 2030. Within China, Leapmotor aims to sell one million electric cars annually in the long term. Leapmotor International is also set to become another brand in the Stellantis Group for low-cost electric cars.

“The creation of Leapmotor International is a great step forward in helping address the urgent global warming issue with state-of-the-art BEV models that will compete with existing Chinese brands in key markets worldwide,” comments Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

“Leveraging our existing global presence, we will soon be able to offer our customers price-competitive and tech-centric electric vehicles that will exceed their expectations. Under Tianshu Xin’s leadership, they have built a compelling worldwide commercial and industrial strategy to quickly ramp up the sales distribution channels to support Leapmotor’s robust growth and create value for both partners.”

Opportunistic

“We do not intend to leave the 20,000-euro price band of the market to our Chinese competitors,”  Tavares added. “Whether I like it or not, Chinese manufacturers are grabbing share in Europe. I am trying to be opportunistic and leverage an already existing dynamic.”

“The partnership between Leapmotor and Stellantis demonstrates a high level of efficiency, opening a new chapter in the global integration of China’s intelligent electric vehicle industry,” said Leapmotor Founder, Chairman and CEO Jiangming Zhu.

“Leveraging Leapmotor’s cutting-edge technology and products, along with Stellantis’ support in areas such as overseas channels, services, and marketing, we hope that users worldwide can experience the exceptional driving and riding experience brought by Leapmotor products. We believe this cooperation can boost Leapmotor to become a respected world-class intelligent electric vehicle company.”

Leap 3.0 platform

Last year, both sides set up a ‘liaison office’ to coordinate the collaboration. On the Stellantis side, this was headed up by manager Grégoire Olivier, who will also serve on Leapmotor’s board of directors.

“Grégoire Olivier will ensure the implementation of the new strategic partnership, including the establishment of the sales joint venture and coordination with Leapmotor on utilizing Stellantis’ sales and distribution resources,” it said. Olivier was previously Chief Operating Officer of Stellantis in China. This position will now be filled by Doug Ostermann, who will also become a member of the Leapmotor board.

Stellantis plans to utilize Leapmotor’s “highly innovative, cost-efficient EV ecosystem” in China, which probably refers to the Chinese manufacturer’s Leap 3.0 platform. The latter was presented at the IAA in Munich in September.

At the premiere, Leapmotor emphasized that it was open to cooperation. The company not only wanted to build cars but also to become a provider of core technologies for electric vehicles, as Zhu Jiangming, CEO of Leapmotor, stated at the time.

T03 and C10

Exports to Europe via Leapmotor International will thus begin in September 2024. Among other things, this should help Stellantis to achieve the targets defined in its Dare Forward 2030 strategy. The car manufacturer’s brands will sell only electric cars in Europe from 2030. In the US, the target BEV share of sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (including pickups) is 50%.

The joint venture now focuses on the T03 small electric car and the C10 SUV model from Leapmotor. In March, Reuters reported that Stellantis planned to build the T03 at its Polish plant in Tychy. The Fiat 600e, among others, has been produced there since last year. The T03 is already available in some European markets, for example in France, at prices starting at around €20,000.

The Leapmotor T03 will be sold under €20,000 in Europe /Leapmotor

A chief rival to the T03 will be the Dacia Spring full-electric minicar, which is also imported into Europe from China. Chinese EV giant BYD has also plans to launch its Seagull model in Europe for less than €20,000.

In March, it was also announced that Leapmotor was planning to sell the C10 in Europe, specifically in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The joint venture is now likely to be responsible for the launch. Leapmotor founder and CEO Zhu Jiangming said the C10 will compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y and the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4.

According to Stellantis figures, the T03 has a range of 265 km (WLTP standard), while the C10 can travel 420 km on a full charge.

In February, rumors emerged that Stellantis could produce electric cars for its Chinese joint venture partner at the Mirafiori plant in Italy. This report was also based on information from insiders — and has still not been confirmed.

Tavares said local production of Leapmotor cars will depend on whether the EU increases import tariffs for Chinese auto imports to punitive levels or erects non-tariff barriers.

Leapmotor wants the C10 to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y and the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 /Leapmotor

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024