Stellantis Invests in Chinese EV Maker Leapmotor

Stellantis is one of the biggest car companies globally and the second biggest in Europe. They own famous brands like Peugeot, Jeep, Citroen, Chrysler, and RAM. Western interest in Chinese electric vehicle technology is growing fast. After Audi and Volkswagen, Stellantis, a big car company, is joining in.

Stellantis plans to invest €1.5 billion in a Chinese EV maker called Leapmotor. They will get a 20% share in the company. Stellantis wants to start selling Leapmotor cars in Europe in 2024, and later in the United States. These cars will be made in Stellantis factories around the world, including the US.

Leapmotor’s cars are built using their self-developed Leap 3.0 platform, which can be used for fully electric cars and those with range extenders.

It’s worth noting that Stellantis had to close its last factory in China and stop selling Jeeps there. That factory, which was a partnership between Fiat Chrysler and GAC, was losing money. In 2021, they only sold 20,000 cars, which was just 6% of what the factory could make. Looking back at this experience, Stellantis’ CEO 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.”

They’re forming a partnership called Leapmotor International. In this venture, Stellantis will control 51%, and Leapmotor will have 49%. Leapmotor will handle sales and manufacturing in China, and they will have the exclusive rights to export and make Leapmotor cars outside China. These exports are set to begin in 2024.

Back in October 2022, Stellantis’ CEO wanted higher taxes on Chinese cars. He said that the European Union should make sure Chinese car companies play by the same rules in Europe as Western companies do in China.

Now, in a change of stance, the CEO is criticizing the EU for looking into whether Chinese car exports to Europe benefit from government support. He believes this shouldn’t be the focus of the investigation.