Leapmotor JV shows non-European promise – Stellantis

Collaboration set to play well in emerging markets

Leapmotor JV shows non-European promise – Stellantis
Leapmotor products could have a receptive audience beyond Europe

Amsterdam-headquartered conglomerate Stellantis expects to see the first concrete results from the joint venture (JV) it entered into with Chinese OEM Leapmotor in October last year in the second half of this year. And, while the European market will be the first target, other geographies may surprise the Chrysler-Fiat-Peugeot-Citroen automaker on the upside.  

“Things are moving there quite rapidly,” says Stellantis CFO Natalie Knight of the JV. “We have had very positive progress and you will start to see the first sales and revenues coming in there in the second half.”

The finance chief cautions that the JV may not “be hugely material for us as a group”, but promises to keep analysts updated on developments. And she suggests that its prospects have already evolved in a way Stellantis was not expecting.

“First is Europe, but we are seeing a lot of interest from both Middle East and Africa and South America to get moving on these products because they are very cost-competitive in their markets,” Knight adds. “And we see probably more opportunity there than we initially envisioned when we announced the joint venture.”

While it may have caught Stellantis slightly on the hop, it seems logical to EV inFocus that there would be an appetite for relatively cheap Chinese BEVs in markets less concerned than Europe or North America about the potential impact of rising Chinese imports. And if these products can be badged under a marque mush more familiar to any particular market than a Chinese EV pure play, that should lead to quicker adoption.

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This partnership model between Chinese tech and Western OEM brand recognition for emerging markets could serve as a model for other volume automakers with JVs producing China-made BEVs for the country’s highly competitive domestic market, such as VW or GM. The trick will be to ensure that both sides of the partnership are on the same page in any expansion of the collaboration, something analysts feel has been challenging both for Stellantis and VW.

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