Stellantis CEO Tavares says van unit will have freedom to develop new technologies

Stellantis’ current light commercial vehicle operations are led by Xavier Peugeot, who serves as Senior Vice President, Commercial Vehicles Business Unit. Tavares created a separate business unit for light commercial vehicles at the head of the PSA group in 2016, headed first by Philippe Narbeburu.

It is not clear if Xavier Peugeot would hold the same title with the new unit.

“We will create a new business entity dedicated to our professional customers and their needs, and the management team will have more autonomy,” Tavares said, adding that he would provide more details, including on the management team. management in the months to come.

He did not say whether the new business would spin off from Stellantis’ passenger car operations, as the Mercedes-Benz Group did last year with Daimler Trucks.

“It’s a huge business with huge potential for profitable growth, and I don’t want them to be held back by the rest of the business, should that happen,” Tavares said. “So if I want that to break free, the best way is to give them dedicated staff, dedicated factories, dedicated autonomy in terms of management, making sure they can unlock their full potential.”

Analysts say that in Europe, at least, commercial vans can have double-digit margins, similar to those of a well-equipped SUV, because the technology lasts longer than passenger cars and they are more simple to assemble.

The business is highly competitive, with a changing array of production and technology alliances. In the latest combination, Ford will develop and build commercial vans and the next-generation Amarok pickup for the VW Group.

Stellantis was the market leader last year in Europe, where it held a 34% market share, and in South America, where it held a 31% market share. In 2020, the combined sales of minivans from the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler more than doubled those of their nearest competitor, Ford.

Stellantis has also pioneered alternative energy powertrains for vans, with all-electric options for its compact, medium and large vans in Europe. Mid-size pickup trucks from Citroën, Peugeot and Opel are even available with hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, working with partners such as suppliers Faurecia and Symbio, a joint venture of Faurecia and tire maker Michelin.

The van business was an important lever in bringing Opel/Vauxhall back to sustainable profits soon after the PSA Group bought the brand from GM in 2017. Tavares moved Opel’s vans to PSA platforms, added a compact van to Opel’s lineup and ensured that mid-size vans would be built. at Vauxhall’s beleaguered Luton plant.

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