Stellandis Europe, North America – February 20, 2024 at 8:47 pm Leapmotor can build EVs

Stellandis Europe, North America – February 20, 2024 at 8:47 pm Leapmotor can build EVs

Stellandis could build electric vehicles based on technology from Chinese subsidiary Leapmotor in Europe, North America or other markets that need competitively priced models to compete with Chinese EV makers, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Tuesday.

“At some point, Western governments may be tempted to block Chinese exports,” Tavares said. “We have the ability to assemble Leapmotor cars inside the bubble. It could be Europe, it could be North America.”

Automotive News Europe reported earlier this week that Stellantis is considering building Leapmotor EVs in Italy. “There is no reason to exclude a country with a Stellandis factory,” Tavares said.

The drive to lower electric vehicle costs will force coordination among global automakers, Tavares told reporters during a video conference call from New York. However, he said no major deals were discussed.

“We have enough on our plate,” Tavares said.

Earlier this month, Stellandis denied rumors of a tie-up with French carmaker Renault.

Tavares said there could eventually be only five major automakers as incumbents try to gain economies of scale to compete with BYD and other emerging Chinese automakers.

“You can debate whether it's a good thing to fight the antitrust lock that prevents big Chinese companies like BYD from merging with Western companies,” Tavares said.

Automakers are “under pressure to sell EVs at ICE prices,” Tavares said, using an acronym for the internal combustion engine. “Until we can sell EVs at ICE prices and make a profit, we're not doing what consumers expect from us.”

BYD and Chinese EV makers have a 30% manufacturing cost advantage over Western automakers, Tavares said.

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“Tariff protection will not help,” he said.

If Chinese automakers decide to build factories in Mexico to ship vehicles to the United States, the Mexican government will welcome that investment, he said.

Washington must choose between violating the terms of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal or increasing pressure on Mexican workers who immigrate to the U.S. for work, he said.

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