Stellantis’ “Leapmotor International” joint venture to launch soon

Approximately six months after taking a $1.6 billion stake in Chinese OEM Leapmotor, Stellantis is reportedly poised to officially launch a new joint venture between the two automakers to sell the former’s China-built EVs globally. The joint venture is expected to be announced very soon as Leapmotor International.

The ongoing saga appears closer than ever to a solidified joint venture between China’s Leapmotor and Europe’s Stellantis ($STLA). The journey began last fall when Stellantis announced it had acquired an approximately 20% stake in Leapmotor in exchange for an investment of 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion). The investment also plans for a new joint venture with Leapmotor in which Stellantis owns a 51% stake.

At the time, we reported the plan was to call the new joint venture with Leapmotor “Stellantis International,” in which the latter would help sell the former’s EVs in new markets outside of China, including Europe and possibly the US.

By March 2024, the new partners announced their joint venture had been approved after Stellantis gained regulatory approval in China to continue its stake. This deal was the first of its kind for a Western automaker, awarding Stellantis exclusive rights to build, export, and sell Leapmotor brand EVs outside of China.

Furthermore, as you’ll see in the image below, the business review of the joint venture following approval showed that it will operate under the name “Leapmotor International.”

Today, we have learned that all the necessary paperwork appears to have been completed, and executives from Stellantis and Leapmotor are preparing to officially launch the JV and announce its core team as early as next week.

Stellantis and Leapmotor to announce “Leapmotor Intl”

According to local Chinese media outlet Cailian, Leapmotor chairman Zhu Jiangming and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares are scheduled to attend a joint press conference next week, where the two respective companies plan to jointly announce the official launch of Leapmotor International.

Around the same time as March reports that the joint venture had received regulatory approval to move forward, Leapmotor shared that it had already established its executive team and shared images of them on its Weibo page.

Other users on Weibo have said the new partners have already established plans for the production of Leapmotor EVs in Europe, more specifically, Italy. Reuters has previously reported EV production could begin at Stellantis facilities in Poland.

Production is rumored to begin as early as 2026 with a targeted output of 150,000 vehicles per year ahead of plans to sell approximately 500,000 Leapmotor-branded cars outside of China by 2030. Neither Stellantis nor Leapmotor have confirmed these targets.

We should learn more if and when the partners confirm Leapmotor International’s start of business. If that doesn’t happen next week, it should be very soon.

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