Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Stellantis-Led Leapmotor International Eyes South Korea for Electric Car Launch

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Leapmotor International, a joint venture majority-owned by Stellantis, is considering entering the South Korean market with its electric vehicles, leveraging Stellantis’ existing dealer network for a smooth market debut.

According to Chosun Biz, Stellantis executives in South Korea are scheduled to visit local Jeep and Peugeot dealers by the end of this month. Additionally, plans are underway for company officials to visit Leapmotor’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, a city where Leapmotor operates 53 showrooms.

“We need to assess Leapmotor International’s competitiveness in South Korea,” said a Stellantis official in the country, highlighting the strategic evaluation of potential dealers willing to retail Leapmotor vehicles.

Leapmotor International intends to begin its operations in the Asia-Pacific region, with plans to introduce two models initially: the T03 city car and the C10 mid-size SUV. While the C10 is available in China in both pure electric and range-extender electric versions, Leapmotor International will focus solely on the latter for its market entry.

The joint venture is slated to expand into European markets in September and gradually extend its footprint to Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and South America starting in the fourth quarter.

Stellantis will produce the T03 model at its facility in Tychy, Poland, with prototype production currently underway and mass production scheduled to commence in September.

“We have the capability to manufacture Leapmotor products at any of our global plants if economically feasible,” stated Stellantis’ vice president of communications in China, according to Autohome.

South Korea presents a challenging market for new entrants, particularly amid robust competition from established domestic brands like Hyundai and Kia, which command nearly 80% of the market share. Despite this, Chinese automakers, including BYD and Zeekr, are intensifying efforts to penetrate the South Korean market amidst shifting global trade dynamics.

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