Stellantis CEO says costs at Italian car plants higher, but not due to labor, sources say

FILE PHOTO: Stellantis debuts on Milan and Paris stock exchanges
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Stellantis, the world's fourth-largest automaker is seen as workers stand on a crane at the main entrance of FCA Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

February 23, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) – The chief executive of Stellantis said on Tuesday average production costs for cars in Italy were higher than in other countries where the automaker operates, like France and Spain, but it was not due to labor costs, according to two union sources.

Carlos Tavares, the CEO of the world’s fourth largest carmaker, which was formed earlier this year through the merger of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Peugeot maker PSA, was in Turin on Tuesday to meet local worker representatives at one the group’s facilities.

A union source, who attended the meeting, said Tavares told workers he wanted to reduce the additional costs Stellantis was now paying to produce cars in Italy, compared to similar vehicles in France and Spain.

Tavares did not give details about what was causing the higher costs, though he said they were not attributable to wages, the source added.

A second source confirmed the CEO’s comments on labor costs, adding that he kept the discussion about costs at Italian facilities at a very general level.

FCA and PSA have targeted over 5 billion euros a year in savings from their merger, without closing any plants, and Tavares has also committed to not cutting jobs.

He has also said that all Stellantis brands and plants would be given a chance to be profitable.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Paul Simao)