Stellantis agrees deal to sell cars from Chinese EV brand Leapmotor in Europe

  • Stellantis agrees new £1.3bn deal to sell Leapmotor vehicles in Europe
  • Group also takes 20 per cent stake in Chinese firm and majority control of new Leapmotor International arm
  • Deal opens up possibility of Leapmotor’s EV technology being utilised in future Stellantis projects

Time 10:50 am, October 27, 2023

Stellantis is to sell Leapmotor cars in Europe after agreeing a landmark deal with the Chinese EV brand.

The €1.5bn (£1.3bn) deal will see the automotive giant start selling Leapmotor’s cars outside of China from the second half of next year.

It will also take a 20 per cent stake in the Asian outfit and have majority control of a new Leapmotor International arm.

The partnership will also have one eye on improving Leapmotor’s sales back home in China, as well as growing its presence worldwide.

Bosses say they are looking ‘further explore mutually beneficial synergies’, opening the door to Leapmotor’s electrification expertise being utilised in in future Stellantis products down the line.

Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO, said: ‘As consolidation unfolds among the capable electric vehicles start-ups in China, it becomes increasingly apparent that a handful of efficient and agile new generation EV players, like Leapmotor, will come to dominate the mainstream segments in China

‘We feel it’s the perfect time to take a leading role in supporting the global expansion plans of Leapmotor, one of the most impressive new EV players who has a similar tech-first, entrepreneurial mindset to ours.’

The deal has been agreed despite Tavares previously being critical of the influence of Chinese manufacturers on the European market.

Last year, the 65-year-old called on the EU to introduce tariffs on Chinese EVs in order to help the established European brands – measures which are now under consideration.

The idea has caused anger from the Chinese government, which described it as ‘a naked protectionist act that will seriously disrupt and distort the global automotive industry’.

Tavares also said European car manufacturers were facing a ‘terrible fight’ to keep sales high amidst an influx of new brands from China.

However, speaking after the deal was announced, he brushed aside accusations of hypocrisy.

He added: ‘The Chinese offensive is visible everywhere.

‘We can be benefiting from this Chinese offensive rather than being a victim.’

Leapmotor focuses on new energy vehicles of which it delivered around 111,000 in 2022 alone.

It is looking to create a full range of vehicles in a variety of sizes, all based on one ‘technical architecture’ with three scalable platforms utilising both electric and petrol range-extender electric powertrains.

Zhu Jiangming, Leapmotor founder and CEO, added: ‘Today it is a great milestone in Leapmotor’s history, and I am thrilled to witness this moment together with Mr. Tavares and his team

‘Developed with our in-house, full-suite technology capabilities, Leapmotor brings to the market the best-in-class EV products in a most cost competitive way.

‘We believe in win-win partnerships formed by strong players in the fast-evolving environment. Working with Stellantis, we will continue to be innovative and creative in technology and business synergies and will bring Leapmotor EV cars to the global market.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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