Stellantis-Leapmotor Announces Global Expansion, Set to Enter India by Q4 2024

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares highlighted the potential for local manufacturing to bypass high import duties, reinforcing the commitment to sustainable mobility and addressing global environmental challenges.

Introduction

Stellantis and Leapmotor have announced a major global expansion, with plans to enter the Indian market by Q4 of 2024. This joint venture between the Amsterdam-based Stellantis and Chinese electric vehicle (EV) brand Leapmotor aims to make cutting-edge EV technology affordable worldwide.

That’s right! Stellantis and Leapmotor are teaming up to bring affordable electric vehicles to a global audience.

Leapmotor International, a joint venture: Established in October 2023, Stellantis invested €1.5 billion to acquire a stake in Leapmotor and form Leapmotor International. This venture is 51% controlled by Stellantis and is responsible for selling and potentially manufacturing Leapmotor electric vehicles outside of China.

Global rollout starting in 2024: Leapmotor International is set to launch operations in several regions this year.

Phase 1 (September 2024): Europe takes the lead with Leapmotor EVs entering nine countries including France, Germany, and Italy. They plan to have 200 sales points operational by year-end, leveraging Stellantis’ existing dealership network.

Phase 2 (Late 2024): The expansion continues to other regions including India, Brazil, and the Middle East.

India specifically: Leapmotor’s entry into the Indian market is expected by Q4 of 2024. They might even consider local manufacturing to address import duties.

This collaboration is a strategic move for both companies. Stellantis gains access to Leapmotor’s EV technology and Leapmotor benefits from Stellantis’ global reach and distribution network. With an emphasis on affordability, they could be strong contenders in the growing electric vehicle market.

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Background

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Group merged in 2021 to form Stellantis, a multinational automotive manufacturing corporation.

It is one of the world’s leading car manufacturers with a strong presence in Europe and North America, owning brands such as Jeep, Dodge, Citroen, and Peugeot.

Leapmotor, founded in 2015, is an innovative Chinese EV company known for its affordable yet technologically advanced electric vehicles.

The company has quickly made a name for itself in the domestic Chinese market and is now looking to expand its reach globally.

In September 2023, Stellantis acquired a 20% stake in Leapmotor for €1.5 billion, setting the stage for a 51:49 joint venture focused on international expansion.

This partnership aims to combine Stellantis’ global reach and Leapmotor’s cutting-edge EV technology to address the growing demand for electric vehicles worldwide.

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Leapmotor’s India Entry

Carlos Tavares, Stellantis’ global CEO, revealed that Leapmotor will begin operations in India as part of Leapmotor International’s global strategy. This decision follows the binding agreement signed seven months ago, forming a 51:49 joint venture between Stellantis and Leapmotor, with Stellantis holding the majority stake.

Leapmotor plans to introduce the T03 hatchback and the C10 SUV to the Indian market. These models will target competitors like Tata’s Tiago EV, BYD’s Atto3, MG Motor’s ZS EV, and upcoming models such as the Creta EV and Maruti eVX.

Manufacturing and Local Production

Tavares mentioned that the company is considering local manufacturing to avoid high import duties but has not yet made a final decision.He also noted that India’s new EV policy, which allows for lower import duties on certain cars for a limited time if companies commit to local manufacturing, presents an opportunity that Stellantis has yet to explore fully.

“The tariffs to import CBUs in India are very high, Most probably, if we were to bring Leap Motors to India, it would have to be through local manufacturing, as it is for all the other brands we have in India.”

Tavares Stellantis’ global CEO,

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European Market and Global Reach

Starting in September 2024, Leapmotor will enter nine European countries. These include Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and Portugal. Stellantis will sell the brand across 200 dealerships in the region. The company is currently homologating all models for the European market.

By Q4 2024, Leapmotor International will expand into South America, the Middle East, Africa, India, and the Asia Pacific regions.

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Benefits of the Stellantis-Leapmotor Partnership

Tavares outlined four key benefits of the Stellantis-Leapmotor partnership:

  1. Accelerated Market Entry: The JV will speed up the market entry of smart and affordable EVs.
  2. Latest Technology: Leapmotor brings the latest EV technology, enhancing Stellantis’ product offerings.
  3. Dare Forward Plan Support: The partnership supports Stellantis’ Dare Forward plan to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030.
  4. Asset-Light Model: An asset-light model will be used to execute this plan efficiently.

“Affordability is the number one problem with EV expansion worldwide, With Leapmotor, we can bring affordable EVs faster to our markets, contributing to the profitable growth of Stellantis and addressing global warming.”

Tavares Stellantis’ global CEO,

Long-Term and Short-Term Plans

In the short term, Stellantis plans to import completely built units (CBUs) before starting local assembly and manufacturing in India. The long-term product strategy for India is still under discussion with Stellantis’ product-planning teams in Germany and China.

Leapmotor, which sold a 20% stake for €1.5 billion to Stellantis in September 2023, sees India as a key market. The company plans to use Stellantis’ existing dealer network in India, which currently sells Jeep and Citroen models, to retail Leapmotor vehicles. This move is expected to boost dealer volumes and attract more buyers.

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Future Prospects

Leapmotor aims to double its China volumes to 300,000 units this year. It expects international sales to reach nearly 100,000 units by 2025, up from 10,000 in 2023. The company plans to introduce models from the A to C segments. It will also add more MPVs, SUVs, and hatchbacks in the future.

“The whole global market expansion is based on strategic cooperation with Stellantis,” a source from the company said. “Leapmotor will leverage its resources locally in many markets it enters, including manufacturing facilities and dealer networks.”

Major automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Tata Motors are lining up close to a dozen new EV models for launch. The entry of Stellantis-Leapmotor will significantly impact the Indian EV market.

Conclusion

The Stellantis-Leapmotor joint venture represents a significant step forward in the global EV market. Stellantis’ extensive reach and Leapmotor’s advanced technology will make EVs more accessible and affordable worldwide. The planned expansion into India and other global markets shows both companies’ commitment to sustainable mobility.Stellantis and Leapmotor aim to address global environmental challenges. Their ambitious rollout will set new benchmarks in the EV industry. These efforts will foster innovation and growth. The EV market is becoming increasingly competitive.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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