Leapmotor C11

Leapmotor to enter the Indian market with two electric vehicles initially

Chinese electric vehicle maker Leapmotor is set to make its foray into the Indian market in collaboration with European automotive giant Stellantis. This move comes amidst a shifting landscape of global trade dynamics, particularly with the United States and possibly Europe adopting protectionist measures against Chinese imports, making India an increasingly attractive market for expansion.

Leapmotor, in partnership with Stellantis, unveiled its plans to introduce its EV lineup in India as part of its second phase of global expansion, starting from the fourth quarter of 2024. The joint press conference held by Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, and Zhu Jiangming, CEO of Leapmotor, highlighted India’s significance alongside other international markets like South America, West Asia, Africa and the Asia Pacific region.

The initial focus within the Asia Pacific region will be on markets such as Australia and New Zealand before venturing into India. Leapmotor International, wherein Stellantis holds a 51% stake, will debut two EV models – the compact T03 city car and the D-segment SUV C10 in these international markets, including India.

While Leapmotor International has yet to finalise its retail strategy for India, Carlos Tavares indicated the potential utilisation of Stellantis’s local manufacturing facilities to navigate high tariffs on EV imports. Although Stellantis has not explicitly outlined plans for increased local production in India, leveraging the country’s EV imports scheme could offer a strategic avenue for the company, allowing reduced import taxes in exchange for commitments to local manufacturing and investment.

Stellantis emphasised its exclusive rights through the joint venture with Leapmotor to manufacture, export and sell Leapmotor products globally outside China. The company’s expansion roadmap includes establishing operations in Europe by September 2024, with 200 sales points targeted by year-end, followed by expansion into India, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and South America in the fourth quarter.

In October 2023, Stellantis made a significant investment of €1.5 billion to acquire approximately 21% equity in Leapmotor, recognising the startup’s position among the top-three Chinese EV startups. Leapmotor, which commenced EV sales in 2019, has steadily positioned itself for international growth with strategic partnerships like the one with Stellantis.

The collaboration between Leapmotor and Stellantis underscores a broader trend of global automotive players seeking opportunities in emerging markets like India amid evolving trade dynamics. As the EV landscape continues to evolve, partnerships and strategic expansions will likely play a crucial role in shaping the industry’s future.

Leapmotor T03
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