Home » Stellantis and Leapmotor together on low-cost compact cars to challenge Renault and Dacia

Stellantis and Leapmotor together on low-cost compact cars to challenge Renault and Dacia

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Stellantis and Leapmotor together on low-cost compact cars to challenge Renault and Dacia

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A race towards small, electrified and economical cars and in the midst of this path the goal, which seems like an industrial chimera, of one million cars produced in Italy. This is the key point of a new, hypothetical phase of the agreement between Stellantis and the Chinese Leapmotor. According to various industrial sources, the European group could start the production of a small car in Mirafiori in 2026, thus giving industrial meaning to the acquisition in October of 21% of the Chinese company, for an outlay of 1.5 billion euros by the Italian-French-American manufacturer. The operation should be managed by the Leapmotor International joint venture controlled 51% by Stellantis and 49% by Leapmotor.

Rumors indicate that the car candidate to be assembled in Mirafiori is a city car derived from the Leapmotor T03, a full electric model with dimensions and characteristics similar to the 500, already built in Mirafiori, or the Renault Twingo or the Dacia Spring, two models which as we’ll see, a major update is in progress. In practice, the T03 is part of the A segment, that of the cheapest city cars which currently has a very limited weight on the market but which is fundamental for the democratization of the electric car.

The T03 boasts a 41.3 kWh battery that powers an 80kW motor which ensures a range of approximately 300km. The car is marketed in France and in other countries including Israel and boasts characteristics that fully qualify it among small cars. The rumors indicate the goal of approximately 150 thousand cars produced in the historic Italian plant, a figure that could ensure its future. It must be said that the time horizon is broad: we are talking about 2026/2027 and this opens the door to a series of hypotheses. First of all, the car that will eventually be produced could be an updated, revised and corrected version of the T03.

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But not only that: it could be a model based on the platform of the Chinese small car and this could give additional industrial meaning to the Leapmotor operation in terms of platforms for ultra-compact cars. In fact, Stellantis currently makes B-segment thermal/hybrid and electric cars on the CMP platform, such as the new Lancia Ypsilon, Peugeot208 or the Opel Corsa. It also uses a variant of this architecture, called Smart car (which is none other than the Indian version of the well-known CMP) for the Citroën C3/ëC3 and the future debut new Fiat Panda.

Furthermore, Stellantis creates the electric Fiat 500, made in Mirafiori on a specific platform, unique for the small Fiat which is now almost 4 years old and should cease production at the end of 2026 and its heir should be based on the new generation architecture for compact cars : Stla Small, heir to Cmp. This, however, will not see the light before 18-24 months and will debut with the next generation of Peugeot 208. Stla Small should, but the conditional is a must, cover not only the B segment but perhaps the higher value A segment, while the evolution of the Leapmotor T03 could give rise to cheaper, city and entry level cars. A segment where there is renewed interest. It is no coincidence that Renault is focusing on this area where with a concept it has given a glimpse of the future electric Twingo and tomorrow, Wednesday 21 February, Dacia, the Romanian brand of the Renault group, will unveil the new low-cost electric car: the second generation Spring. And if the future 500 will still be assembled in Mirafiori, it could also be that it will be built on a platform derived from the Leapmotor ones, or it is also possible that the Chinese company’s technologies will be integrated into the STLA architectures, starting with the Small which is under development .

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