Stellantis is working on establishing new partnerships in China
Stellantis is looking into a collaboration with a Chinese electric car manufacturer to strengthen its presence in the world’s largest car market, according to an agency report. Apparently, several potential partners are still in the running.
This was reported by Bloomberg with reference to insiders. Stellantis is said to be considering an investment in a Chinese electric car maker or a business partnership that would help the group grow in China. Among the potential partners is Leapmotor, however, no final decisions have been made yet. The report does not say which other manufacturers are negotiating or have negotiated with Stellantis. It is also not clear which Stellantis brand will be used for the new joint venture.
Stellantis currently operates a joint venture with Dongfeng to sell Peugeot and Citroën cars in China. Dongfeng Peugeot Citroën, which is the name of the joint venture, has little presence in New Energy Vehicles. In October 2022, it was announced that the joint venture would rely on CATL’s battery replacement system for its first model. However, the Evogo system was integrated into a Dongfeng model based on a Peugeot design that is several years old – in other words, not up to date.
According to Bloomberg, a new electric partnership with a local company would fit in with the “asset-light” strategy in China that Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has worked out. Last year, Stellantis closed its only Jeep plant in China for cost reasons and also considered shutting down its entire production in China (i.e. including Dongfeng Peugeot Citroën). As recently as July, Tavares was quoted as saying that he was satisfied with his decision to downsize in China, as competitors such as Volkswagen and General Motors were under pressure in China.
On the stock market, the news had a particular impact on Leapmotor’s share price, with shares rising as much as 11.4 per cent at the peak. Leapmotor has been listed since September 2022. In the wake of fierce competition among EV start-ups, the share price was recently about 20 per cent below the issue price in the autumn. Leapmotor is developing some advanced approaches such as cell-to-chassis batteries, but has also added internal combustion vehicles in the form of range extenders to its model portfolio to boost stagnating sales.
Rumour has it that Volkswagen is also interested in an electric car cooperation with Leapmotor. The VW brand had already announced a technological framework agreement on long-term cooperation with the Chinese EV manufacturer Xpeng at the end of July and had taken a financial stake of around 700 million dollars in Xpeng. Audi is also expanding its cooperation with its Chinese joint venture partner SAIC in the field of electric cars.