As per the latest reports, Stellantis will invest €1.5 billion in Chinese EV maker Leapmotor for a 20% stake. Stellantis plans to begin exporting Leapmotor vehicles to the EU in the second half of 2024, with the US market following later. According to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, Leapmotor vehicles will be manufactured in Stellantis plants around the world, including the United States.
Stellantis is the fourth biggest automaker in the world and second in Europe in terms of sales and consists of renowned brands such as Peugeot, Jeep, Citroen, Chrysler, and RAM. On the other hand, Leapmotor is a Chinese EV startup that sells only three models in China— the C01 EV, C11 EV, and T03 EV.
Leapmotor built its vehicles on the self-developed Leap 3.0 platform (also called Four-Leaf Clover), which supports pure-electric cars and EREVs (range extenders).
Leapmotor International, a joint venture (JV) that will be formed by both companies, will have Stellantis controlling 51% and Leapmotor 49%. Leapmotor will handle sales and manufacturing in China, and the JV will have the exclusive rights to export and produce Leapmotor automobiles abroad. Shipments are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2024.
Bear in mind that Stellantis decided to shut down its last production plant in China and remove the Jeep brand from the market there. This plant, which was a joint venture between Fiat Chrysler and GAC, had been operating at a loss. In 2021, it sold 20,000 cars or just 6% of its total manufacturing capacity. Now recalling that experience, Tavares said:
“We will sit in the international market driver’s seat and on the Chinese market’s co-driver seat. The previous ventures [Jeep] in the country had been a lesson in humility.”
In October 2022, Tavares called for higher tariffs on Chinese cars. While speaking to reporters at the Paris auto show, Stellantis CEO said, “Put simply, we should ask the European Union to enforce the same conditions in Europe for Chinese manufacturers under which we, the Western manufacturers, compete in China.”
Now taking a U-turn, Tavares openly criticized the EU anti-subsidy probe in an interview with Reuters, stating that addressing global trade concerns should not be the focus of the EU’s investigation into whether Chinese vehicle exports to Europe benefit from state subsidies.
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