December 6, 2022
Stellantis may come to India to make affordable EVs for Europe


Fiat parent Stellantis has concluded it cannot currently make affordable electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe and is looking at low-cost manufacturing in markets such as India, its chief executive told reporters.

If India, with its low-cost supplier base, is able to meet the company’s quality and cost targets by the end of 2023, it could open the door to exporting EVs to other markets, group CEO Carlos Tavares said. Said, whose brands also include Peugeot and Chrysler.

“As of now, Europe is unable to make affordable EVs. So the big opportunity for India will be to be able to sell EV compact cars at an affordable price,” Tavares told reporters at a media roundtable in India late on Wednesday.

Stellantis is investing heavily in EVs and plans to produce dozens over the coming decade, but Tavares warned last month that affordable battery EVs were between five and six years away.

On his first visit to India after taking over as CEO of Stellantis, he said that the company is still working on a plan regarding EV exports from the country and has not taken any decision yet.

Tavares’ potential bet on India comes after US carmakers Ford and General Motors were pulled out of the world’s fourth-largest car market, failing to make money and breaking the dominance of Japan’s Suzuki Motor and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor. Afterwards.

It comes even as Chinese EV makers are making inroads into Europe, aiming to win over buyers with more affordable cars, which already have a march on most overseas rivals in China, the world’s biggest market for EVs. have stolen

Stellantis is the latest to refocus its strategy in China, where it now plans to become a niche player through its Jeep and Maserati brands, after its Jeep joint venture in the country files for bankruptcy .

Tavares said, “Tensions are rising between China and the Western world. This is going to have consequences in terms of trade. The power that is best positioned to take advantage of this opportunity is clearly India.”

India, where Stellantis sells its Jeep and Citroën brands, is a fraction of the carmaker’s global sales, but Tavares said the company was not chasing volumes and instead wanted to ramp up slowly and profitably.

Tavares previously said he expected revenue to more than double in the South Asian country by 2030 and profit margins in the double digits over the next few years.

The carmaker is planning to launch its first EV in India – an electric model of its Citroën C3 compact car – early next year.

Stellantis already makes its own electric motors and battery packs, and has plans to make battery cells as well. In India too, Tavares is looking to locally source EV components, including batteries, so that it can be cost and price competitive.

“The customs duty for importing a car into India is very high. This means if you want an affordable EV, it has to be made in India with Indian suppliers and components,” he added. At least 90 percent participation to be locally competitive.

“EV today is mostly an affordability problem,” he said. “It’s not about the technology.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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