Stellantis has revealed plans to acquire a stake of around 20% in China-based new energy vehicles company Leapmotor with an investment of approximately €1.5bn.

As part of the deal, the parties also intend to establish a joint venture (JV), dubbed Leapmotor International. The JV will have exclusive rights for the export and sale and manufacturing of Leapmotor products outside Greater China.

Stellantis will own a stake of 51% in Leapmotor International while the remaining 49% will be held by Leapmotor.

The new JV is expected to begin shipments in the second half of 2024.

Through the partnership, Stellantis aims to utilise Leapmotor’s cost-efficient electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in China to help meet the company’s electrification targets.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said: “We feel it’s the perfect time to take a leading role in supporting the global expansion plans of Leapmotor, one of the most impressive new EV players who has a similar tech-first, entrepreneurial mindset to ours.

“Through this strategic investment, we can address a white space in our business model and benefit from Leapmotor’s competitiveness both in China and abroad.”

The collaboration will also further advance Leapmotor’s sales in China.

Besides, the Chinese firm intends to make use of Stellantis’ global commercial presence to significantly accelerate Leapmotor brand sales in other regions, starting with Europe.

Leapmotor founder and CEO Zhu Jiangming said: “Developed with our in-house, full-suite technology capabilities, Leapmotor brings to the market the best-in-class EV products in a most cost competitive way.

“We believe in win-win partnerships formed by strong players in the fast-evolving environment. Working with Stellantis, we will continue to be innovative and creative in technology and business synergies and will bring Leapmotor EV cars to the global market.”

The deal is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.

Last month, Stellantis opened its inaugural battery technology centre at the Mirafiori complex in Turin, Italy.