HANGZHOU, China -- Stellantis said it is buying a 21 percent stake in EV maker Leapmotor in a $1.6 billion deal that will give it a fresh shot in China and the smaller Chinese automaker a European foothold.
Stellantis and Leapmotor will set up a Dutch-based joint venture, in which Stellantis will own a 51 percent stake giving it exclusive rights for the export, sale and manufacturing of Leapmotor's products outside China.
The deal, which follows a Volkswagen-Xpeng tie-up announced in July, heralds a new era of automotive alliances in China and reflects how the country is emerging as a global center of EV technology.
"The Chinese offensive is visible everywhere," Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told a news conference on Thursday in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. "With this deal we can benefit from it rather than being the victims of it."