When the PSA Peugeot Citroën and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles groups merged, many experts were quick to predict the demise of one brand or another. In North America, the hot seat was occupied by Chrysler, while globally Lancia was seen as the most vulnerable.
Not so fast, Stellantis is saying with its announcement this week. The new automotive giant, which counts 14 brands on its roster, has announced that it is giving each one of them a decade to prove its worth.
“We're giving each (brand) a chance, giving each a time window of 10 years and giving funding for 10 years to do a core model strategy. The CEOs need to be clear in brand promise, customers, targets, and brand communications.”
- Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares, at the Financial Times Future of the Car event
His comments mean that Chrysler fans and dealers need not worry about the immediate future, or at least for 10 years. And, against all odds, Lancia fans can breathe a sigh of relief too. Former FCA executive Sergio Marchionne had warned of its demise on several occasions. Alfa Romeo is also safe for now, and there are probably sighs of relief audible over at Vauxhall.
Carlos Tavares' statement of commitment also indicates that Stellantis will not sell any of its brands to raise capital until at least 2031. It is now up to each management team to work and promote their brand and their products; it’s an unusual survival strategy in an era more prone to cost-cutting than to spending money. The approach is bold, and we think it will result in some innovative approaches.
For Chrysler, all of this entails a growth strategy, since it's hard to imagine the division keeping only the two vehicles it currently offers, the 300 and the Pacifica minivan. The challenge is similar for Lancia, which is doing well in Italy but needs to find a way to establish itself more firmly elsewhere in the world.
The next few auto shows, when they return, will certainly be interesting for Stellantis.