Stellantis CEO says Italy’s hard line on incentives is hurting output

ATESSA, Italy,(Reuters) – Italy’s penny-pinching approach to incentives has meant several months of reduced automotive production, the head of Stellantis (STLAM.MI), opens new tab, the country’s sole major automaker, said on Tuesday.
“Stellantis has been asking the Italian government for the last nine months to support EV sales,” CEO Carlos Tavares said during a visit to the group’s plant in the town of Atessa, central Italy, Europe’s largest van-making facility.

He said the group was asking the Italian government to support sales of electric vehicles (EV) to also help protect its Mirafiori plant, in Turin, which produces vehicles including Fiat’s 500 electric small car. The plant has introduced temporary lay-offs because of sluggish demand.
Fiat-owner Stellantis has been in talks with Rome since last summer over a long term plan for the industry.
The government wants the Franco-Italian group to raise its annual production in Italy to one million vehicles, from around 750,000 last year, while the automaker is seeking support measures, including cheaper energy costs and EV sales incentives.
The government is expected to present its new incentive scheme on Feb. 1, worth over 900 million euros ($975 million) for this year, according to a draft decree seen by Reuters.
“Italy is spending much less money than any other great European country to support EVs,” Tavares said.
“The consequence is that we are losing manufacturing products in Italy that we could manufacture (…) We already wasted nine months of production, of additional production in Mirafiori”.
Rome has also said it was working to encourage other major carmakers besides Stellantis to produce in the country.
“We are ready to compete. If the competition is very harsh, you will appreciate the consequences of that competition. But we are absolutely fine,” Tavares said.


Tavares said Stellantis aimed to become global leader in the commercial vehicle (LCV) market worldwide by 2030, by launching what he called an offensive in North America and picking up opportunities in Asia.
“We believe that within that time window, we have the potential to win this race,” he said.
With a market share of over 30% in 2023, Stellantis is LCV leader in Europe, while it is among the three largest manufacturers worldwide, along with number one Ford (F.N), opens new tab and Toyota (7203.T), opens new tab.
The group sold 1.8 million LCVs worldwide last year under its Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Vauxhall and Ram brands, up from 1.6 million units in 2022.
($1 = 0.9234 euros)

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari and Remo Casilli, editing by Giulia Segreti and Keith Weir