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Business News/ Auto News / Chinese EV maker Leapmotor aims to enter India in partnership with Stellantis
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Chinese EV maker Leapmotor aims to enter India in partnership with Stellantis

The company will bring in two EVs—a small electric city car called T03 and a D-segment sports utility vehicle (SUV) C10 to its international markets, including India, Leapmotor International said.

Leapmotor International plans to bring in two EVs, a small electric city car called T03 and a D-segment sport utility vehicle C10, to its international markets, including India. Premium
Leapmotor International plans to bring in two EVs, a small electric city car called T03 and a D-segment sport utility vehicle C10, to its international markets, including India.

New Delhi: Chinese startup Leapmotor aims to launch its electric vehicles (EVs) in India as part of a global joint-venture partnership it has with European automotive group Stellantis in its bid to expand its presence in international markets, the two companies said on Tuesday.

As the United States turns increasingly protectionist by raising import tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, and fears that Europe might also follow suit, India is emerging as a critical market for large automotive groups to tap.

Second phase

Leapmotor's launch in India will be part of the second phase of its expansion strategy beginning fourth quarter of 2024, Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, and Zhu Jiangming, CEO of Leapmotor, said at a joint press conference in Hangzhou, China, on Tuesday, pointing to markets such as South America, west Asia and Africa and India-Asia Pacific. In the APAC region, Leapmotor International, in which Stellantis has a 51% stake, will first enter markets such as Australia and New Zealand, followed by India.

Also read |  Murugappa Group’s EV arm raises new funds from GEF Capital

The company will bring in two EVs - a small electric city car called T03 and a D-segment sport utility vehicle (SUV) C10 to its international markets, including India, Leapmotor International said. Tavares, however, said Leapmotor International hasn't yet formulated a retail model for the brand in India, but it will consider utilizing Stellantis's local manufacturing facilities for Leapmotor in geographies where EVs face high tariffs.

While Stellantis hasn't made any direct reference to plans of investing more for local production in India, participating in the country's EV imports scheme, which allows manufacturers to import electric cars into the country at a lower import tax in exchange for a commitment to local manufacturing and investment, could be an avenue Stellantis might want to tap with Leapmotor.

Three plants

Stellantis operates three manufacturing plants in India, in Ranjangaon near Pune, and in Hosur and Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu, through its passenger vehicle brands Jeep and Citroen.

While Chinese manufacturers have not had it easy in India due to geopolitical tensions, SAIC Motor's MG Motor India's joint venture with Indian conglomerate JSW Group has thawed some tensions, enabling it to invest in greater local production and introduce a range of EVs and plug-in hybrids in the country.

BYD, the world's largest EV maker, however, has not had had such luck -- the company continues to import completely built-up cars in India, without being able to scale up assembly operations in the country. It did, however, receive homologation certification for its Atto 3 EV in April, allowing it to import a higher volume of the product from China.

Exclusive rights

Through the JV with Leapmotor, Stellantis gets exclusive rights to build, export and sell Leapmotor products across international markets outside China.

Also read | JSW Group in talks with Chinese carmaker Leapmotor for EV tech: Report

"Leapmotor International will start operations in Europe by September 2024 through 200 points of sales by the end of the year with plans to expand to India & Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa and South America starting in the fourth quarter", Stellantis said in a statement Tuesday.

In October 2023, Stellantis announced an investment of €1.5 billion to acquire approximately 21% equity in Leapmotor, which was among the top-three Chinese EV startup in 2023. The company started selling EVs in 2019.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alisha Sachdev
Alisha Sachdev reports on the auto and mobility sector, with a special focus on emerging clean mobility technologies.
Catch all the Auto News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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Published: 14 May 2024, 08:44 PM IST
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