Week after EU import tariff announcement, Chinese Leapmotor T03 rolls-off production line in Stellantis Polish plant

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Stellantis has reacted fast to the announcement of EU tariffs on Chinese EV imports due to come into effect on July 4. During an analyst conference call Leapmotor’s management announced that the first T03 models rolled off the assembly line in Tychy, Poland last week. Full mass production is scheduled for September.

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Stellantis bought a 21% stake in Zhejiang-based Leapmotor last year and subsequently formed a joint venture Leapmotor International in which Stellantis has the controlling 51% share. Under the deal Stellantis has exclusive rights to build, export and sell Leapmotor products outside China.

Production of the Leapmotor model in Europe is commencing earlier than generally expected. It was only last month that Stellantic CEO Carlos Tavares announced that the Polish factory which currently produces the Jeep Avenger was being considered as a production base for Leapmotor in Europe.

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Previously Tavares had said that it was more cost-effective to import than to produce locally. However, it is believed that Tavares changed his mind after the EU tariffs came in higher than Stellantis expected.

Earlier reports suggested that the T03, small car, would be produced from semi-knocked down kits (CKD). Whether this is still the plan is unclear but Reuters quoted analysts at Jefferies saying that Leapmotor was already starting to prepare for local production of components for a second model, due to go into production next year.

The small Leapmotor T03 electric hatchback being examined at IAA Mobility 2023, Munich Germany.

Production costs at the Polish factory are reported to be 400 to 500 Euro ($428.08-$535.10) per car, a similar figure to the cost to produce the car in China and less than half the cost of using an Italian plant.

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Leapmotor sales in Europe are due to begin in September with the sales network scheduled to reach 200 outlets by the end of the year. Plans call for at least six models by 2027.

The Leapmotor T03 will compete with the Dacia Spring, a small car produced by Dongfeng, which was the tenth best-selling fully electric car in Europe last year.

The C10 the first world car from Leapmotor based on their Leap 3.0 architecture on display at IAA Mobility 2023, Munich Germany.

Production of a second model in Poland will begin next year and it is believed to be the A12 SUV which has previously been spied testing in China.

It is reported that for the moment the Leapmotor C10 SUV will be imported as part of the European sales lineup.

Sources: Reuters, Phoenix, Zhitong Finance

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