Stellantis considers electric vehicle production in India

by Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Stellantis is currently unable to produce affordable electric vehicles in Europe and is considering lower-cost production in markets such as India, its chief executive said.

If India is able to meet the car group’s quality and cost targets by the end of 2023, the possibility of exporting electric vehicles to other markets could become a reality, Carlos Tavares, the director, said on Wednesday. General of Stellantis during a round table in India with the press.

“So far, Europe is unable to manufacture affordable electric vehicles. So the big opportunity for India would be to be able to sell electric compact cars at an affordable price, preserving profitability,” he said. said.

Stellantis, which invests heavily in electrics, plans to produce dozens of models over the next decade, but Carlos Tavares warned last month that it would take five to six years for this sector to be financially accessible.

Carlos Tavares added that the manufacturer, born from the merger between PSA and FCA, was still in the process of drawing up a plan to export electric vehicles from India and that no decision had been made.

US automakers Ford and General Motors pulled out of the country, the world’s fourth-largest car market, due to weaker-than-expected performance and the dominance of Japan’s Suzuki and South Korea’s Hyundai.

At the same time, Chinese players are continuing to enter the European market with more affordable cars.

“There is growing tension between China and the Western world. This is going to have a trade consequence. The power that is best placed to take advantage of this opportunity is obviously India,” Carlos Tavares said.

India, where Stellantis distributes its Jeep and Citroën brands, accounts for only a fraction of the automaker’s global sales but the leader said the group was not chasing volumes but rather looking to grow slowly and steadily there. profitable.

Carlos Tavares previously said he expects the automaker to more than double its revenue in India by 2030 and achieve a double-digit operating margin over the next two years.

The group, which already manufactures its own electric motors, battery packs, and also plans to produce battery cells, wants to source electric vehicle components, including batteries, from the country in order to be competitive in terms of of costs and prices.

“Customs duties to import a car into India are very high. This means that if you want to have an affordable EV, it must be made in India with Indian suppliers and components,” he said, adding that the company should source at least 90% of the parts locally in order to be competitive.

“Today, the EV is above all a problem of affordability (…) It is not a question of technology.”

Stellantis plans to launch its first electric vehicle in the country, a version of the Citroën C3, early next year.

(Aditi Shah report, French version Laetitia Volga and Kate Entringer, edited by Gilles Guillaume)

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