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Italy’s premier slams Stellantis over lowered Italian footprint since Peugeot-FiatChrysler tie-up

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MILAN — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni slammed carmaker Stellantis, accusing it of weakening Italy’s industrial footprint for the reason that merger of FiatChrysler and PSA Peugeot that created the world’s fourth largest auto maker.

As certainly one of Italy’s high non-public sector employers, Fiat and its successors, FiatChrysler after which Stellantis, have all the time gotten authorities consideration, however hardly ever have premiers been so pointed of their feedback. Meloni additionally characterised the merger that created Stellantis in 2021 as a French takeover.

“We wish to return to creating 1 million automobiles a yr with whomever needs to put money into the historic Italian excellence,’’ she mentioned in a speech to parliament Wednesday.

Meloni cited figures that motorcar manufacturing in Italy had dropped from 1 million in 2017 to underneath 700,000 in 2022 and that Stellantis had slashed 7,000 jobs for the reason that merger.

“If you wish to promote automobiles on the worldwide market marketed as Italian jewels then these automobiles have to be produced in Italy,” Meloni mentioned.

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Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, who was visiting a plant in Abruzzo, advised reporters that he didn’t assume the corporate’s Italian staff would recognize Meloni’s characterizations.

“We’ve got greater than 40,000 staff in Italy who work very exhausting to adapt the corporate to the brand new actuality, as determined by politicians, and they’re stuffed with expertise,’’ he mentioned.

The carmaker mentioned manufacturing in Italy grew by almost 10% final yr to 752,000 automobiles, two-thirds of which have been exported, “contributing to the Italian commerce stability.” Stellantis mentioned it has invested a number of billion euros in Italian operations for brand spanking new merchandise and manufacturing websites lately.

Automotive business knowledgeable Franceso Zirpoli mentioned annual automotive manufacturing in Italy fell from 2 million twenty years in the past to about 800,000 earlier than the pandemic, regardless of the purpose of the late former FiatChrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne of making a luxurious pole in Italy producing 1.4 million automobiles a yr.

FiatChrysler as an alternative began in search of a European companion, placing a maintain on new investments, which solely weakened Turin’s declare to stay a analysis and improvement heart after the merger in 2021, he mentioned.

“It was evident that the technological coronary heart of Europe couldn’t be Turin, it needed to be Paris,’’ mentioned Zirpoli, director of the Middle for Automotive and Mobility Innovation at Venice’s Ca’ Foscari College.

With out the anchor of analysis and improvement actions “you possibly can simply transfer manufacturing from one place to a different, and Italy turned only one different place the place you possibly can find manufacturing,” he mentioned.

Zirpoli mentioned the important thing for any authorities that wishes to spice up manufacturing is to make Italy a gorgeous place to speculate.

Whereas Meloni touted Italy’s automotive “jewels,” reminiscent of Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, Zirpoli famous that a lot of the 474,000 Stellantis automobiles produced in Italy final yr for export bore the U.S. model Jeep nameplate — not the group’s storied Italian manufacturers.

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