Stellantis has set up two Russian-invasion task forces, according to Reuters as cited in Automotive News. One is to comply with sanctions, and the other is to safeguard their 71 employees in Ukraine with a “24/7 dedicated support team.”
Carlos Tavares stated that the company would continue to sell cars in Russia, even as most automakers have pulled out, resulting in negative reactions on social media and in some forums.
Stellantis only had $22 million worth of business in Russia last year, but Mitsubishi and Stellantis recently set up joint venture van factory in Russia and is still planning to ship vehicles from the plant into Europe.
Renault’s timing may have been the worst in the auto industry: the French automaker recently purchased Lada and put billions of euros into upgrading the Russian automaker’s manufacturing facilities.
The Stellantis Foundation did commit €1 million in humanitarian aid to support Ukrainian refugees, through a local NGO. A press release quoted Carlos Tavares as saying, “Stellantis condemns violence and aggression and, in this time of unprecedented pain, our priority is the health and safety of our Ukrainian employees and families. An aggression that shook a world order, already unsettled by uncertainty, has been launched. The Stellantis community, made of 170 nationalities, looks with dismay as civilians flee the country. Even if the scale of causalities is not yet apparent, the human toll will be unbearable.”
World leaders have generally chosen to avoid direct armed conflict with Russia, which remains a well-equipped nuclear power. Instead, they have focused on financial harm to Putin and his supporters, in the hopes that this pressure would change his behavior or force a coup—or at least prevent Putin from attempting to repeat the invasion with another country, such as Finland. Sanctions are also reportedly intended to prevent China from invading Taiwan. While the sanctions have hurt Western economies and driven up the price of gasoline, they have been devastating within Russia, with the ruble falling to well under a penny.