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Stellantis, CEO Tavares speaks: “All Italian factories have a future”

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Stellantis, CEO Tavares speaks: “All Italian factories have a future”

After the hard-nosed controversies with the Italian government, Carlos Tavares tries to lower the tone and launches a series of messages that aim to be both reassuring and conciliatory. Starting with a sharp denial: «I want to be very clear. There are no ongoing negotiations with anyone for a major merger, certainly not with Renault. The operation with the French group is pure and simple speculation.”

The Italian reporters on a conference call to comment on the – extremely positive – accounts of Stellantis for 2023, however, await him on another front. And he doesn’t shy away. «We need all the Italian factories – he says – to reach the goal of one million vehicles produced. So there is definitely a future for Pomigliano and Mirafiori. New models will arrive, but I can’t say which ones yet. The Panda will be replaced.”

For Stellantis record accounts in 2023, profit of 18.6 billion. CEO Tavares: “Italian employees will have an average bonus of 2,112 euros” TEODORO CHIARELLI 15 February 2024

Not only. «We are satisfied with the incentives – continues the CEO of the automotive group – An excellent decision, we thank the government. Consumers will benefit. To reach the goal of producing one million vehicles we must work with the Italian government and that is what we are doing.”

The Portuguese manager explains that the group chaired by John Elkann has the capacity to reach 1 million vehicles by 2030, and perhaps even before, if production continues to grow by 10% per year. These are the numbers from last year: «In 2023 Stellantis production of cars in Italy increased by +9.6% to 752,000 vehicles, that of components by +10.5%, 63% of Italian production is exported». Tavares says again: «In 2023 we took a first significant step. I want to congratulate all Italian employees for their commitment and contribution to the group’s record results. Stellantis makes a great contribution to the country’s trade balance.”

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Then some detail comes in. Pomigliano, he says, is at maximum production capacity. «The level of activity is very solid. We need more Pandas, the current model will discontinue in 2026 and be replaced. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a success, it will also be exported to the United States like the Hornet and therefore the plant will continue to produce at full capacity.”

As for Mirafiori, Tavares claims that the electric 500 is the victim of the lack of incentives in Italy and Germany. «The redundancy fund in Mirafiori – insists Tavares – is due to insufficient demand. The 500 is a premium product and incentives are needed to increase volumes, as soon as they are approved in Italy and Germany things will go much better. For this we are grateful to the government, the delta of orders with and without incentives is around 20 thousand cars”.

Tavares, however, is not willing to suffer insinuations about alleged favoritism towards French plants to the detriment of Italian ones, also given the presence of the Transalpine state in Stellantis’ shareholding structure. «I’m not Italian or French or English. I am Portuguese and when I make decisions I make them in the best interests of Stellantis as a global company. We used the former PSA platforms because there was an urgency to proceed with electrification and there were no cost-competitive solutions developed before the merger. In the past, FCA has not made the necessary investments in electric vehicles.” And again: «It is not correct to criticize the use of these platforms because they are French. We are eager to use the Italian platforms, starting with those in Turin, when they become available.”

And speaking of Turin, Tavares recalls that the laboratory for the batteries of the future was created in the Piedmontese capital and the hub for the circular economy is operational. Indeed, it is from here, he claims, that the offensive against the feared Chinese will start. «Against China we will use all the skills we have, including those of Turin. We need the best brains to develop the technology necessary to fight the competition.”

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The last thought is for Maserati, a luxury brand, a source of concern in Italy about its future. «Maserati is Italian, it is produced in Italian factories and designed by Italian designers. It will remain Italian and will continue to be produced in Italy. We want to reach the highest level of quality to make it an even more luxury brand. I tried the GranCabrio Folgore, it’s an exceptional product.”

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