Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep, Ram, and Citroen among others, might collaborate with Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Leapmotor to expand its operations in the world’s largest car market, sources told Bloomberg on Wednesday.
The tie-up isn’t final, but considerations are ongoing, stated the report. Leapmotor was founded in December 2015 and is headquartered in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province in eastern China. InsideEVs reached out to Stellantis for a comment, but the automaker refused.
Several American and European brands have partnerships with Chinese carmakers. General Motors partners with SAIC and Wuling in China, while Volkswagen recently announced a $700 million investment in Xpeng. China is one of the key markets for Ford, which runs joint ventures with Changan Automobile Co., and Jiangling Motors.
Volkswagen is also in talks with Leapmotor for its new platform for the China-only Jetta brand, a joint venture between the German automaker and China’s state-owned FAW Group.
Leapmotor’s “Four Leaf Clover” platform is of interest to the VW Group, reported Reuters in July 2023. The architecture includes an integrated computing platform capable of controlling an EV’s “intelligent functions” like autonomous driving and cockpit controls.
Leapmotor sells four electric models in China: the T03 small hatchback, the C01 electric sedan, the C11 SUV, and the S01 electric coupe. It claimed last year that the C01 was the first mass-produced EV to incorporate cell-to-chassis technology, which enables an NEDC range of more than 434 miles.
Meanwhile, Stellantis hopes to manufacture a $25,000 EV in the US, CEO Carlos Tavares indicated in July 2023. It also revealed the STLA Medium platform last month for C- and D-segment vehicles measuring between 4.3 and 4.9 meters long, supporting body types like passenger cars, SUVs, and crossovers.