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Cheaper electric cars coming: Budget Chinese car brand Leapmotor and Jeep parent Stellantis to bring new EV models to Australia and take on Tesla Model Y and Kia EV6

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The C10 is Leapmotor’s “first global product”.
The C10 is Leapmotor’s “first global product”.

Global car giant Stellantis is putting its power behind an upcoming Chinese electric car brand in a move to take affordable EVs to new markets.

Leapmotor, a relatively new car brand even in its home nation of China, is set to leverage Stellantis’ established presence to take its first ‘global product’ and a budget-focused small car to more markets - including Australia - as early as this year.

The Leapmotor C10, which appears to be a mid-size electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model Y, is a promising model with a claimed 420km electric driving range and a five-star Euro NCAP rating, meaning it’s quite likely to land in Australia.

The other model from the brand is a light hatchback, the T03, which has a claimed 265km range that seems to be more suited to the European market.

The T03 is neither ruled out nor confirmed for Australia, and could land here if it’s up to strict ADRs, but is likely less a priority than the larger C10.

A €1.5 billion (AU$2,434,000) Stellantis investment allowed the global brand to acquire about 21 per cent equity in Leapmotor, a relatively new brand even in China.

The result is a brand called Leapmotor International, 50 per cent owned by Stellantis and 49 per cent by Leapmotor.

The T03 is neither ruled out nor confirmed for Australia.
The T03 is neither ruled out nor confirmed for Australia.

The plan for the company is a late 2024 “product launch roll-out” that will “expand to the Middle East & Africa (Turkey, Israel and French Overseas), India & Asia Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia and India), and South America (Brazil and Chile)”.

“The creation of Leapmotor International is 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,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

“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,” said Leapmotor Founder, Chairman and CEO Jiangming Zhu.

“We believe that this cooperation can give Leapmotor a boost to become a respected world-class intelligent electric vehicle company.”

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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