Mopar/STLA dropping out of CES show, citing money troubles

Stellantis has dropped out of January’s consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, after years of splurging on concepts, reveals, and displays each year—in some years, to the detriment of its Detroit auto show unveilings. The company cited a shortage of cash, blaming strikes.

Stellantis at CES 2022

While last year’s revenues were remarkably strong for the company in North America and the rest of the world, sales and, more important, transaction prices have plummeted since then. The Jeep Gladiator, for example, went from selling at a premium to three months of “Employee Pricing for All” discounts—and sales still dropped by 32% for the year. While most other companies saw U.S. sales increases in the last quarter, FCA US dropped.

Globally, Stellantis is preparing for a tough economy and massive turnover in their product lines. In Europe, electric cars are slowly replacing diesels, and many countries want gasoline and diesel commuter-cars to be a thing of the past in 2030. In the United States, roughly half of new car sales are slated to be electric in that same year. The company does not appear to have its own battery technologies, unlike Toyota and General Motors, which means it will be hard to find any savings or competitive advantage there—save for a shared investment (with Mercedes and Hyundai) in Factorial, a solid state battery innovator. Toyota’s solid state batteries are set for production at around the same time as Factorial’s.

Chrysler Mount Elliott Tool & Die plant
Mount Elliott Tool & Die is reportedly going on the auction block. 

Stellantis has laid of 1,400 people in France and 2,000 people in Italy; they closed some non-production sites around Paris and sold part of the Lingotto plant in Turin. The company is haggling with the UAW now about mostly closing Belvidere Assembly (using a small part of the plant to make parts, another part for non-union warehousing, and the rest for rentals), a number of warehouses, and its former primary engine plant (Trenton Engine); and selling off a closed tooling plant and its North American headquarters. Company leaders said engineering would stay in the Auburn Hills headquarters, but selling the building and leasing part of it back would provide a one-time influx of cash (at the cost of higher expenses over the rest of the facility’s use). Stellantis is, in short, preparing a massive bulwark of cash and cost reductions.

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