Stellantis to out-muscle rivals in EV race

Stellantis

Newly-formed Stellantis, a combination of Peugeot-maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), wants to use its clout to take on rivals racing to produce more electric vehicles, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday.

Stellantis is now the world’s fourth largest carmaker, with 14 brands including Opel, Jeep, Ram and Maserati, and like its peers, it is grappling with a shortage of semiconductors and investments in electric vehicles.

Low global car inventories and cost cuts should help boost profit margins this year, though the carmaker is also looking beyond savings, Tavares said.

Stellantis aims to deliver over 5 billion euros a year in savings through the merger, as well as bulking up to face industry challenges.

Automakers are racing to develop electric vehicles to meet tighter CO2 emissions targets in Europe and this week Volvo joined a growing number of carmakers aiming for a fully-electric line-up by 2030.

Stellantis plans to have fully-electric or hybrid versions of all of its vehicles available in Europe by 2025, broadly in line with plans at top rivals such as Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan, although Stellantis has further to go to meet that goal.

The group said 2021 results should be helped by three new high-margin Jeep vehicles in North America and a strong pricing environment there. The U.S. market has driven profits for years at FCA and starts off as the strongest part of Stellantis.

The carmaker is targeting an adjusted operating profit margin of 5.5%-7.5% this year.

That compares with a 5.3% aggregated margin last year: 4.3% at FCA and 7.1% at PSA excluding a controlling stake in parts maker Faurecia, which is set to be spun-off from Stellantis shortly.

Tavares said he did not consider the guidance to be cautious. It assumes no more significant lockdowns caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, but the executive warned of other headwinds including the rising price of raw materials.

The industry is being squeezed by a COVID-19-related global shortage of semiconductors, used for everything from maximising engine fuel economy to driver-assistance features.

Tavares said the problems might not be fully resolved by the second half of 2021, as some auto rivals have flagged, describing supplies as the “big unknown” for revenues in 2021.

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