Will this small affordable Chinese electric city car break through in France?

On the electric car market in France, there will be several new Chinese car brands to follow in the coming months. The Leapmotor brand has just confirmed its arrival for the end of 2022.

Chinese automakers have never succeeded in conquering the European market for thermal cars, but they are getting their revenge with electric vehicles. This will make those who frown upon this aggressive competition cringe. However, you will have to get used to it.

Leapmotor is one of those Chinese startups, which we don’t know yet, but which is launching by the end of the year on the French market. It evolves a little in the shadow of other big names (Byd, Xpeng, Nio, MG), but it still manages to come out on top. It must be said that China has several hundred manufacturers of electric vehicles, growth driven by numerous subsidies from the Chinese government, which are due to end in December 2022. Like many other brands, to survive, these Chinese manufacturers must conquer other markets, Leapmotor has decided to export to Europe.

A debut in France with the small electric city car T03

The Leapmotor T03 is a 3.62 m mini-city car, the equivalent of a Renault Twingo ZE or a Volkswagen e-Up. It is therefore an electric vehicle suitable for the city. Good news, because this segment of small city cars is shunned by historical manufacturers because of its lack of profitability.

Leapmotor T03 currently sold in China // Source: Leapmotor

The importer’s press release indicates that it has an 80 kW (109 hp) electric motor combined with a 41.3 kWh Lithium-ion battery. It is announced for 280 km of autonomy wltp.

Additional information on the model, as well as its prices, will be confirmed when it begins marketing in France.

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Leapmotor T03 Chinese version interior // Source: Leapmotor

In China, the Leapmotor T03 is marketed from just under €11,000. Of course, we cannot expect such a price in France, but we can hope for a model at less than 20,000 €, which would come to compete a little with the leadership of the Dacia Spring in this price range.

EVE France was chosen to market the brand in France, with the ambition of rapidly multiplying Leapmotor points of sale. The first sales are scheduled for the last quarter of 2022.

Other Chinese brands are also in the running

Not all Chinese brands will necessarily meet the success expected by their owners. While MG has managed to initiate good growth in France and Europe, Aiways and Seres, for example, have much more anecdotal sales volumes. However, they offer vehicles at attractive prices.

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Rear of the T03 // Source: Leapmotor

Other Chinese brands could on the other hand succeed in grabbing market share from the historical manufacturers. In particular, we expect the Paris World Cup in October to find out what BYD has in store for Europe. The Paris Motor Show will also be an opportunity to discover the Ora Funky Cat from the Great Wall Motor group. Nio and Xpeng, which target the premium market, have started to establish themselves in Norway and are now targeting other European markets.

Whether you are for or against the mass arrival of Chinese vehicles on our roads, it is a trend that will be interesting to follow, because it could change the strategies of European manufacturers more quickly than expected.

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