Stellantis-backed Leapmotor cuts C10 SUV price by nearly a fifth as China’s EV war rolls on

Stellantis-backed Leapmotor cuts C10 SUV price by nearly a fifth as China’s EV war rolls on

Stellantis-backed Leapmotor cuts C10 SUV price by nearly a fifth as China’s EV war rolls on

The pure electric version of the C10 starts at 128,800 yuan (US$17,897), 17.3 per cent lower than the presale price of 155,800 yuan in January. It has a driving range of 410 kilometres.

Robotic arms assemble cars at Leapmotor’s factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang province. Photo: China Daily via Reuters

The price of the entry-level extended-range variant has been cut by 10.5 per cent to 135,800 yuan from 151,800 yuan. The car can go up to 210km on a single charge, with a 1.5-litre petrol engine acting as a range-extender.

The C10 is also Leapmotor’s first model aimed at the global market, Zhu said. Exports to Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and Africa will start in the third quarter of this year, he added.

In China, Leapmotor plans to mainly target buyers in the 150,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan EV segment by offering cars fitted with best-in-class components, such as lidar sensors powered by Nvidia’s Orin X chip and digital cockpit powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8295 chip.

Founded in 2015 by Zhu, a veteran electronics engineer who co-founded surveillance giant Dahua, Leapmotor is now supported by investors including state-owned Shanghai Electric Group and Hongshan, formerly known as Sequoia Capital China.

China’s EV price war to hot up as carmakers price models below 100,000 yuan

In October, Stellantis agreed to invest €1.5 billion (US$1.58 billion) for a 20 per cent stake. The two companies said at that time that they would set up an overseas joint venture.

Leapmotor delivered 144,155 vehicles on the mainland in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 29.7 per cent.

The C10 will take on Li Auto’s much-anticipated L6 SUV. Li Auto is the nearest rival to Tesla in mainland China. Beijing-based Li Auto’s sales surged 182 per cent year on year to 376,030 units in 2023, while Tesla delivered 600,000 vehicles to mainland customers, an increase of 37 per cent from 2022.

“The prices of the C10 look attractive now that consumers are cautious on spending on big-ticket items,” said Gao Shen, an independent analyst in Shanghai. “A low-price strategy will be adopted by more EV assemblers this year as they try to survive fiercer competition.”

Geely’s Zeekr ups the ante in China’s EV war, offers 10% discount on new 001

Most carmakers are set to offer discounts and engage in a price war to retain market share this year, Cui Dongshu, general ­secretary of the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), said last month.

EV makers sold 8.9 million units in China last year, a 37 per cent year-on-year increase, according to the CPCA. But sales growth could slow to 20 per cent this year, according to a forecast by Fitch Ratings in November.

On February 18, BYD, the world’s largest EV maker, launched a new version of its plug-in hybrid, the Qin Plus DM-i, with prices starting at 79,800 yuan, 20 per cent below the previous edition.

Three carmakers, including a General Motors joint venture, followed suit and priced their bestselling battery-powered cars below the 100,000 yuan threshold, escalating a price war that could accelerate the transition to EVs in China.

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