“If you want to sell a car on the international market advertising it as an Italian jewel, then that car must be produced in Italy.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blamed Stellantis for her efforts to move car production to lower cost countries at a time when the automotive industry is struggling to shift to electrification.
“We want to defend the national interest, to create a balanced relationship with Stellantis to defend production in Italy”Giorgia Meloni said. “If you want to sell a car on the international market advertising it as an Italian jewel, then that car must be produced in Italy.”
The Amsterdam-based carmaker, which includes Italian brands such as Fiat and the Alfa Romeo, came under fire from the Italian prime minister amid reports that it sent its Italian suppliers a letter pointing out investment opportunities in Moroccoa country that many automakers are turning to for lower-cost EV production.
The Italian government wants Stellantis to produce 1 million vehicles in Italy per year.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, who never hesitates to criticize politicians, told reporters on Tuesday that Italy's hard line on the incentives it provides for the purchase of electric cars had 2023 as a result of production loss at Mirafiori factory.
When asked specifically about the letter to Italian suppliers, Carlos Tavares replied that suppliers, just like car manufacturers, must be “creative” on ways to reduce costs, given its transformation.
“Stellantis is committed to Italy”the manufacturer said in an emailed statement. “The company has invested several billion euros in Italy for new products and production facilities.”
Giorgia Meloni: On the counterattack
“I'm thinking of the merger operation between FCA and the French group PSA, which actually concealed a French takeover of the historic Italian group”said Giorgia Meloni. “It is no coincidence that the group's industrial choices take into account French requests much more than Italian ones.”
The balance between Italy and France on the board of Stellantis has been point of friction between the countries in the past. France owns the 6,1% of Stellantis shares through of State Bpifrance and has representatives on the company's board of directors. Italy, for its part, has no stake and no representatives.