Chinese Car Manufacturers in Italy Could Lead to Controversial Choices, Stellantis Cautions

TURIN, Italy — The head of Stellantis, Italy’s sole major automaker, has expressed concerns about the potential impact of Chinese car manufacturing in Italy, including the possibility of plant closures.

The Italian government is in discussions with Tesla and Chinese automakers, such as Chery Auto, to attract investment in Italy’s automotive sector and boost national production after a period of decline.

“If Chinese competition enters the market, they would bear the responsibility for any difficult decisions that may need to be made,” stated Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares at an event in Turin.

He emphasized the importance of increasing productivity to maintain competitiveness in the face of potential market share and sales volume losses.

“While we are prepared to face challenges, there may come a time when we have to reconsider our current plant capacity,” Tavares added. “In a competitive environment, there are always casualties.”

Tavares dismissed speculation about Stellantis divesting from Italy as “fake news,” highlighting ongoing investments in the country, including an extension of production for the popular Fiat Panda petrol city car.

The phased-out date for the internal combustion engine version of the Panda has been pushed back to 2030, with plans to introduce a new electrified model later this year.

His remarks were made at the inauguration of a new facility at Stellantis’ Mirafiori complex in Turin for the production of electrified dual-clutch transmissions (eDCT) for hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, editing by Gianluca Semeraro and Ros Russell)

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