Rome: Italy has room for another mass-market carmaker beyond Stellantis to protect local jobs and meet a rising demand for electric vehicles, Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said.
The country is relatively unique among European auto heavyweights in having only one mass-market manufacturer in the multinational Peugeot and Fiat maker, Urso told Bloomberg News in an interview Tuesday.
“Stellantis produces over one million vehicles in France, while in Italy it’s less than a half of that,” the minister said. “It’s the country with the highest delta between production and market demand.”
The Italian government is taking an increasingly active role in reshaping the country’s industry and institutions - from bidding for Telecom Italia SpA’s network via its state lender to approving restrictions on the Chinese owners of Formula 1 supplier Pirelli SpA.
Italy’s auto lobby has called for the state to invest in Stellantis - formed from the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler - amid worries of job losses as the sector transitions away from the combustion engine. France’s 6.1 per cent stake in Stellantis is seen as an example of how Italy should protect its own national interests. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday.
Still, the government in Rome remains cautious. Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti dismissed the notion of a direct investment in Stellantis at Bloomberg’s Italy Capital Markets Forum earlier this month.
Stellantis is planning to cut as many as 2,000 jobs in Italy this year, some 4.3 per cent of its workforce in the country. At the same time, the manufacturer has pledged to boost production at its Melfi plant in southern Italy and is moving ahead with plans for a battery factory in Termoli. It’s also turning its iconic Turin facility into an EV hub.