Leapmotor Set To Launch Tiago EV Competitor And SUV In India

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This year, the company carried out a feasibility study and has reached a decision; an announcement is expected very soon, with a probable entry into India by the end of the year.

Chinese EV brand Leapmotor, which formed a joint venture (JV) with Stellantis based in Amsterdam, may soon announce its plans to enter the Indian market. It was reported on February 29 that Leapmotor might consider entering India.

Sources indicate that Leapmotor will begin its operations in India with the T03 hatchback, targeting Tata’s Tiago EV. Additionally, the company plans to launch the five-seater SUV, the C10, to compete with BYD’s Atto3, MG Motor’s ZS EV, the upcoming Creta EV, Maruti eVX, and other electric SUVs in the same category.

Sources have also revealed that after conducting a feasibility study this year, the company has made its decision, with an announcement expected imminently and a potential market entry by the end of the year. The Indian versions of the C10 and T03 will be modelled after their European counterparts. The company aims to introduce models across the A to C segments and expand its lineup with more MPVs, SUVs, and hatchbacks in the future.

In September 2023, Leapmotor sold a 20% stake to Stellantis for €1.5 billion, establishing a 51:49 JV to support its international growth, viewing India as a crucial market. Leapmotor’s vehicles are expected to be available through Stellantis India’s existing dealerships, which currently sell Jeep and Citroen models but have experienced lower sales volumes. Introducing a third brand could attract more customers to these outlets. 

Sources note that Leapmotor’s long-term product strategy in India is currently being discussed with Stellantis’ product-planning teams in Germany and China. Initially, the company plans to export fully built imports before beginning local assembly and manufacturing.

The global expansion strategy hinges on a strategic collaboration with Stellantis, enabling Leapmotor to utilize local resources in various markets, including manufacturing facilities and dealer networks.

Leapmotor aims to double its sales volumes in China to 300,000 units this year and expects to sell nearly 100,000 units in international markets by 2025, up from 10,000 in 2023. Despite the limited number of electric vehicles currently available in India, major local manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Tata Motors are preparing to launch nearly a dozen new models.

Newcomers, primarily from East and Southeast Asia—including MG Motor (in partnership with JSW Group), BYD, Leapmotor, and VinFast—are poised to introduce various global models, enhancing the selection available to potential buyers.

The reduced goods and services tax rate of 5% and the recent announcement of a new electric vehicle policy provide significant incentives for global players to invest in India. However, it remains to be seen how the government will approach investments from Chinese carmakers and whether they will be permitted to participate in the new EV policy with reduced import duties. There has been speculation about whether companies like VinFast and BYD will qualify for these benefits.

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