Stellantis Might Build Chinese Leapmotor EVs in North America

a car parked on a road
Stellantis May Build Chinese Brand's EVs in NALeapmotor
  • Stellantis holds a 21 percent stake in Chinese EV maker Leapmotor.

  • In a roundtable interview, CEO Carlos Tavares said that any Stellantis plant could build Leapmotor vehicles for a given market.

  • Although this implies the EVs could be built in North American plants, Tavares did not reveal any concrete plans to take this action, though.

Stellantis is prepared to build Leapmotor electric vehicles at its European and North American facilities if market conditions dictate, according to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

"At one point in time, as we know well, the Western governments may be tempted to make things more difficult in terms of exports from China to the rest of the world," said Tavares during a roundtable discussion with Car and Driver and multiple other media members. "If they do so, then we have the opportunity to use the manufacturing footprint of Stellantis [to build] Leapmotor cars [in those countries]."


Despite a recent story by Automotive News Europe that reported the automaker's intent to possibly build Leapmotor vehicles at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Italy, Tavares did not indicate any concrete plans to start producing the Chinese brand's cars in either Europe or North America. Instead, he simply acknowledged that "any country that has a Stellantis plant" could build Leapmotor vehicles locally.

Stellantis currently holds a 21 percent stake in Leapmotor, which currently builds the battery-electric C01 sedan, C11 SUV, and T03 small hatchback. Besides serving as a sort of "15th brand" for Stellantis, Leapmotor is also helping Stellantis improve its own internal benchmarking, according to Tavares.

a car parked on a road
Leapmotor C01.Leapmotor

"When we compare the cost competitiveness of Leapmotor with what [Stellantis is] doing with the small-car-platform-based products, we are very, very close," said Tavares. According to the CEO of the Amsterdam-based automaker, Leapmotor products currently have "a 30 percent cost-competitive edge" over rivals built in the likes of Europe and North America. Building these vehicles in local markets would surely bring those margins down, but not enough for Tavares to discount Leapmotor's ability to build a profitable EV.

If Stellantis decides to build or sell Leapmotor models in North America, we wager the company decides to integrate these vehicles into the lineups of its existing brands. Admittedly, this is pure speculation on our part, as Tavares didn't touch on the subject specifically. Given the established brand recognition of Chrysler and Dodge, however, it seems wiser for the company to bolster these brand's dwindling lineups. If you ask us, we think both the Leapmotor C01 (above) and C11 (top) would make nice Chryslers.

There's a good chance that neither vehicle will enter the U.S. market, though. Rather, it's more likely the lessons learned from internally benchmarking Leapmotor vehicles bleed over to future Stellantis EVs. Regardless, Tavares seems fully ready to start building these vehicles at one of its North American plants if the combination of government regulations and profit margins makes doing so a sensible solution.

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