As part of the deal, Leapmotor and Stellantis are also discussing a joint venture, according to Bloomberg.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Stellantis NV, Europe's second-biggest carmaker by sales, is close to reaching a deal to buy about 20 percent of Chinese electric vehicle (EV) company Leapmotor, Bloomberg reported today, citing people familiar with the matter.

The companies are finalizing details of the deal and could make an announcement as soon as the next few days, the people said.

As part of the deal, Leapmotor and Stellantis are also discussing a joint venture, according to the report.

The partnership could allow Stellantis to build and sell some of Leapmotor's vehicles outside of China, while also giving it access to the EV maker's parts and certain technologies, a person familiar with the matter said, according to Bloomberg.

Stellantis owns the Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep and Peugeot brands, and it has a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor to sell Peugeot and Citroen vehicles in China.

The partnership with Leapmotor is Stellantis' latest attempt to boost its presence in the world's largest automotive market.

Founded in 2015, Leapmotor's models on sale include the mini EV T03, the coupe model S01, the flagship SUV model C11, and the flagship sedan C01.

The company went public in Hong Kong on September 29, 2022, and its prospectus says it is the most vertically integrated emerging EV company in China.

The company has realized in-house R&D, design and manufacturing of all core systems and electronic components for smart EVs, creating Leapmotor Power, a powertrain system, Leapmotor Pilot, an autonomous driving system, and Leapmotor OS, an intelligent cockpit system, it said.

On July 20, local media outlet Cailian reported that Leapmotor was in talks with an offshore company about technical cooperation and had made substantial progress.

On August 2, Cailian said in another report that Volkswagen's Jetta brand was in talks with Leapmotor, and that unlike the Volkswagen- deal, Volkswagen's Chinese joint venture FAW-Volkswagen was likely to buy out one of Leapmotor's platform technologies.

On August 24, Bloomberg reported that Stellantis had explored the possibility of partnering with Chinese EV makers, including Leapmotor.

The carmaker was weighing options such as investing in a local EV company and establishing business partnerships that would help it grow in China, the August report said.

Other global automakers, including Volkswagen, have also expressed interest in a potential partnership with Leapmotor, one of the people familiar with the matter said, according to the report.

If Stellantis reaches a deal to acquire a stake in Leapmotor, it will mark the second alliance this year regarding a foreign carmaker with a local Chinese emerging carmaker.

On July 26, Volkswagen reached an agreement with Xpeng to invest about $700 million in the latter to acquire about 4.99 percent of its equity.

Volkswagen will co-develop two B-segment all-electric vehicles to be sold in China under the Volkswagen brand, based on the Xpeng G9 platform and Connectivity and ADAS software.

Leapmotor delivers record 15,800 vehicles in Sept, up 11.35% from Aug