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Stellantis JV to launch Leapmotor EVs in nine European countries from September

Stellantis announced a joint venture with the Chinese electric vehicle startup Leapmotor to retail EVs outside China.

The venture, dubbed Leapmotor International, will be headquartered in Amsterdam, and led by former Stellantis China executive Tianshu Xin as CEO. It is 51 percent owned by Stellantis and 49 percent owned by Leapmotor.

The JV will start selling vehicles in nine European countries --- Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Portugal --- from September, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told reporters at a news event in Hangzhou, China. The market will be expanded to countries in South America, Middle East and Africa, as well as India and the Asia Pacific from "Q4" of 2024, Tavares added.

Tavares called the creation of Leapmotor International "a great step forward in helping address the urgent global warming issue with state-of-the-art BEV models that will compete with existing Chinese brands in key markets around the world," adding, "Leveraging our existing global presence, we will soon be able to offer our customers price competitive and tech-centric electric vehicles that will exceed their expectations."

The partners did not say where the EVs would be produced, but mentioned that the manufacturing location would have the "capacity available to support the sales" and meet quality and cost criteria.

Leapmotor International plans to launch the company's T03 and C10 models, with plans to introduce a new model every year for the next three years.

Stellantis invested $1.61 billion in Leapmotor in October last year, acquiring a 21 percent stake in the Chinese EV company. 

Leapmotor CEO Zhu Jiangming said that the alliance would help his company "become a respected world-class intelligent electric vehicle company."

"Leveraging Leapmotor's cutting-edge technology and products, along with Stellantis' support in areas such as overseas channels, services, and marketing, we hope that users around the world can experience the exceptional driving and riding experience brought by Leapmotor products," he added.

The announcement of Stellantis and Leapmotor's JV comes days after the US ramped up duties on imports of Chinese EVs, alleging overproduction and dumping by the Middle Kingdom.

US President Joe Biden raised the customs duty on made-in-China EVs to 100 percent from 25 percent earlier, while also increasing tariffs on EV batteries and other batteries coming in from China. 

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