Stellantis is a major player in the automotive industry and the second-largest European automotive group in terms of sales volume after Volkswagen. Just like Volkswagen, the Franco-Italian-American group has turned to a Chinese manufacturer to address certain issues in this part of the world.
Stellantis has entered into an agreement with Leapmotor to expand its presence in the affordable electric vehicle market. The collaboration between Stellantis and Leapmotor will result in the creation of a joint venture established in the Netherlands, whose primary goal will be to export and sell Leapmotor vehicles outside of China.
In other words, Stellantis will fill a gap that it currently cannot competitively address in Europe by introducing Leapmotor vehicles, including a range of affordable electric vehicles. The Chinese brand offers the Leapmotor T03 in its lineup, a small electric city car measuring 3.62 meters in length with a range of 280 kilometers, which costs just over 12,600 US dollars at the current exchange rate.
According to the company’s announcement, these vehicles are planned to be marketed in Europe starting next year. Europe will be the first foreign market where Leapmotor cars will be available.
Stellantis will invest approximately 1.5 billion euros to acquire a 20% stake in Leapmotor’s parent company. The joint venture will be called Leapmotor International and will be majority-controlled by Stellantis, with a 51% stake.
Stellantis’ interest in affordable electric vehicles began to materialize with the new Citroën e-C3 electric, which will cost 27,290 US dollars Today, with this strategic agreement, the goal is to cover even more affordable segments. The joint venture’s ambitious goal is to achieve 500,000 sales outside of China by 2030.
Collaborating with Leapmotor will allow Stellantis to enhance its competitiveness in electric vehicle production. “By working with Leapmotor, we will be able to have better real-time benchmarks and comparisons, so we will always be aware of what needs to be done to outperform the best competitors in the market,” explained Natalie Knight, CFO of the group.
However, despite the challenges of producing cheap electric vehicles that Carlos Tavares has mentioned more than once, Natalie Knight assures that the Citroën ë-C3 will be profitable from the beginning of its commercial life. This does not exempt the company from continuing to seek ways to reduce the high costs associated with electric vehicles, including the cost of their batteries and the investment required to transition to an electrified lineup.