However, analysts are unanimously of the opinion that Fiat’s model range is too old, the factories too unprofitable and the emissions of various models are too high. But the Franco-Portuguese did not allow himself to be lured from the reserve by references to this – nor by questions about the future of the numerous Stellantis development centers within the merged group.
“The merger creates a protective shield for jobs,” claimed Tavares. Plants could now be better utilized and models that were previously unprofitable can be embedded in a meaningful business model through production in higher quantities.
However, he sent a warning to Fiat: “We have to achieve a reasonable level of profitability and efficiency in the plants.” The management can make a contribution through an internal rating system. It is not about the number of employees, but about the way in which they work.
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The CEO promised that there would be no plant closings as a result of the merger. However, he did not give a job guarantee for the employees. He indicated that, similar to Opel, existing or new models could be converted to PSA platforms during production: “If we need younger Fiat models, we have the right tools.”
Tavares sees no special need for action at Opel. As with all other brands, however, there is a permanent need to adapt to a highly competitive market. “There is no time out,” warned the Stellantis boss. The new Corsa is selling well. But whether the Vauxhall– Production in Great Britain will be continued, that has to be decided in the next few weeks. Since the British government will no longer allow combustion engines from 2030, the meaningfulness of the Vauxhall works is in question.
The merged companies are to create five billion euros in synergies – a large part of it through “purchasing and production”, announced Tavares. Stellantis is currently rethinking its China strategy, where neither PSA nor FCA sell relevant quantities. “We are not ruling out any possibility,” said Tavares.
He evaded the question of the real decision-making center of the new group: The headquarters are in Amsterdam. However, only the formal company headquarters are located there. The PSA and FCA offices in Paris and London also remain.
Tavares is critical of electromobility
After the expiry of the Tesla The 62-year-old promised that Fiat would have no problem complying with European CO2 standards. At present, high fines can only be avoided because FCA has acquired pollution rights from the electric car pioneer for billions of euros.
But Tavares indicated that Stellantis was different from Renault has a significant cost problem with electric cars and indirectly called for permanent subsidies for e-mobility. “Electric cars lead to higher costs and are not yet affordable for the middle class. Either the manufacturers reduce their margins – then there are economic problems – or we will find another way, ”argued the manager. In the past he had sharply criticized EU emission standards and accused the EU of putting the auto industry at risk.
Tavares also raised the question of whether electromobility really is the ultimate wisdom: “The NGOs now also see that one has to consider not just consumption, but the entire life cycle, including the environmental impact caused by the manufacture and recycling of batteries connected is.”
One must ask, “whether electric cars are the best way to achieve zero emissions.” If governments wanted that, they would have to solve the resulting economic problem. “The states decide, we only provide the technology and production.”
Tavares intends to continue all 14 brands that are now in existence. However, it has not yet been decided whether Peugeot will also be sold in the USA in the future, as once thought. The CEO hinted at a negative response by pointing out that Peugeot has a strong position in Europe and Africa.
Richard Palmer, who previously held this position at FCA, will be the CFO of Stellantis. The top management of the new company is predominantly French who previously worked for PSA or come from FCA. But a German is also there: Harald Wester becomes Chief Engineering Officer. It’s from Maserati.
The sports car manufacturer is the only brand in the luxury segment to run Stellantis. DS is classified in the premium category with Alfa and Lancia, Opel with Peugeot in the “upper middle class”. Fiat and Citroen are only considered a so-called core segment.
More: Carlos Tavares takes over management of the transatlantic auto company Stellantis