Stellantis to launch Leapmotor T03 as ultra-affordable EV for Europe

Stellantis will bring Chinese electric car maker Leapmotor’s T03 supermini and C10 SUV to European markets – including the UK – beginning in September.

The multinational giant paid £1.3 billion for a 21% stake in the eight-year-old Chinese firm and exclusive export rights late last year. 

The T03 and C10 are the first of a wave of Leapmotor models planned for export from China, with “at least one new model to be introduced every year in the next three years”. 

Leapmotor International – a new company set up by the two firms for global sales – plans to be selling cars at 200 dealerships across Europe by the end of 2024. It will then target the India and Asian-Pacific, Middle East and African and South American markets.

The brand will launch in the UK in March 2025. 

The C10, a five-seat rival to the Tesla Model Y with a claimed 261-mile range and up to 228bhp, will be imported from Leapmotor’s factory in Hangzhou, eastern China, but Stellantis is likely to build the European-market T03 itself in Tychy, Poland.

The city-focused supermini will be built alongside the Jeep Avenger, Alfa Romeo Milano, Fiat 600e, and combustion-powered Fiat 500, although it isn’t yet confirmed whether production of the ageing Italian city car will be affected.

Recent reports suggested that Fiat plans to replace the 17-year-old 500 with an ICE version of the far newer 500 EV and could build both variants on the same line in Turin, Italy.

Asked by Autocar if the 500 will make way for the T03 in Poland, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said: “We do not assign vehicles to plants where there is no capacity available, so it’s quite clear that whatever we decide in terms of allocation will be in a plant that has the capacity available to support the sales.

“The case that you mentioned is one possibility. Of course, it is a plant that is meeting all the quality criteria and the cost-competitiveness criteria. Now, of course, if we do that allocation, it’s because there is available capacity.”

Measuring just 3620mm long and having only around 100bhp and 165 miles of range, the T03 will be a close match for the Dacia Spring EV, which is also due on UK roads in the coming months.

Stellantis hasn’t yet given any indication of pricing, but it is possible that the T03 will claim a significant price advantage over its £15k rival by not being shipped over from China and therefore could become the UK’s cheapest electric car.

The C10 is priced from around £17,000 in China but would be considerably more expensive here.

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