With the launch of the new Citroën ë-C3, Stellantis has given a whole ‘masterclass’ to its biggest rivals, which are Toyota and Volkswagen – by sales volume. And they already have on the market, before them, a cheap electric vehicle with excellent performance that is enough to cope with the MG 4 . Well, the automobile group has just made another masterstroke with the purchase of a stake in a Chinese electric car brand, Leapmotor. The plan that Stellantis has in mind will help them be a leading player in Europe, within the market for cheap electric cars.
The Stellantis group has bought a stake in Leapmotor, a Chinese electric car company, worth $1.5 billion. And this operation is directly focused on having the ability to sell electric vehicles much cheaper than those of its rivals in the European market. Unless Europe begins to change its policies towards more protectionist measures, and they have already threatened to do so, manufacturing in China and selling those cars in Europe, surprisingly enough, is still much cheaper. And this is, among other things, because China has control of the critical raw materials for the electric vehicle production chain.
Stellantis buys 21% of a Chinese brand to sell its cheap electric cars in Europe
The agreement in question will lead Stellantis to own 21% of Leapmotor and also have two seats on the board of directors of this Chinese brand of electric cars. But they are also going to build another bridge, through a joint venture established in the Netherlands, in which Carlos Tavares, who is the CEO of the Stellantis group, will also participation in the company’s decision-making. In short, Stellantis’ strategic move involves not directly opposing Chinese brands, but rather approaching them to benefit from their same advantages to compete in the European market.
And it is curious because precisely for this reason it has been seen how Stellantis has changed its opinion completely. Carlos Tavares himself, just a year ago, demanded imposing higher taxes on electric cars that come from China, but in his latest statements, he has begun to be in favor of this competition between the European industry, and the Chinese one, within the European market itself. Of course, they have now taken the initiative to take advantage of the same gaps that Chinese brands take advantage of, and little by little European politicians have allowed them to exist until they cause a clear disadvantage for European manufacturers within their market.
Carlos Tavares has been very clear in advance that this strategic investment will allow them to benefit from Leapmotor’s competitiveness both in China and Europe. For those who do not know the brand, right now it only has three models, but all of them are electric. The smallest in the range already has a 109 HP electric motor, in a format similar to the Dacia Spring with its 3.63 meter long body, and offering a maximum range of 280 kilometers. Come on, it is a product with better features than the Dacia Spring itself.
They also have an outstanding electric sedan with up to 717 km of maximum range, with 272 HP and 544 HP engines, and they also sell a 4.75 meter long SUV that is sold with 272 HP of power and reaches up to 650 kilometers as maximum. What is yet to be revealed is whether these electric cars sold by Leapmotor will be the ones that directly begin to be sold in Europe, or whether they have planned the development in China of new models that benefit from more contained production costs for its subsequent commercialization in Europe. But the strategy is very clear and, once again, they have gotten ahead of Toyota and Volkswagen.