Stellantis may build Leapmotor EVs in Italy, says report

MILAN: Stellantis is considering building up to 150,000 low-cost electric vehicles (EVs) in Italy, in its Mirafiori complex in Turin, as part of its agreements with Chinese automaker Leapmotor, Automotive News Europe said today.

The Franco-Italian automaker last year bought a 21% stake in electric vehicle maker Leapmotor in a US$1.6 billion deal.

As part of that deal, the two groups announced a joint-venture, which is 51%-controlled by Stellantis and which gives the European carmaker exclusive rights to manufacture Leapmotor's products outside China.

Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares said at that time that Leapmotor's cars would be visible in Europe within a maximum of two years.

Production of Leapmotor's cars in Italy could start as soon as 2026 or 2027, Automotive News Europe said, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

Replying to a question last week when presenting full-year earnings, Tavares said the group could manufacture Leapmotor's cars in Italy "if there was a business case for that".

"It only depends on our cost competitiveness and our quality competitiveness. So it's open for us to grasp that opportunity at one point in time," he said.

A spokesman for Stellantis said the company had nothing further to add to comments made by the CEO last week.

Current production by Stellantis at Mirafori includes the 500 BEV small car.

Assigning the production of Leapmotor cars to Mirafiori might help Stellantis meet a target, agreed with the Italian government, to increase the group's output in the country to one million vehicles by the end of the decade, from 750,000 last year.

The group has said the its Italian output goal depended on several factors, including public auto purchase incentives, the development of an electric charging network and lower energy costs.
Autos Stellantis