Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares hinted that the Chinese government offers unequal treatment to foreign companies in the country.

HT Auto Desk

October 18, 2022, 2:49 p.m

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. (REUTERS)

Auto giant Stellantis may stop making cars in China, Carlos Tavares, the company’s CEO, hinted at the 2022 Paris Motor Show on Monday. He also said China’s growing geopolitical tensions with the West are becoming a deterrent to investment in the country. He said the auto giant’s strategy foresees the possibility of further geopolitical tensions in the coming days. This came weeks after Stellantis had already abandoned the construction joint venture Jeep SUVs in China, reports AFP. The automaker made this decision after failing to obtain a controlling stake in the joint venture. Stellantis is also in talks with local partner Dongfeng for its Peugeot and Citroen brands.

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Speaking about the company’s strategy, Tavares said that the idea of ​​exiting China arose when he saw such situations when a car company was thrown out of the country after the introduction of Western sanctions. “There have already been several cases where we have been thrown out of the country when Western sanctions have been imposed… can we be sure that the stability of relations between China and the world is guaranteed?” he added.

Unlike the German opponent Volkswagen, which sold three million vehicles in China in 2021, the mass-market French cars owned by Stellantis never made inroads in the country. The car company is now mulling the idea of ​​selling Peugeot and Citroen models in China after manufacturing them in other countries and importing them. “We continue to sell Jeep and Alfa Romeo cars made outside of China very profitably,” Tavares said, suggesting the same model could work for Peugeot and Citroen. “If we follow our strategy to the end, we don’t need factories in China. In a world of rising tensions, we don’t need to create vulnerabilities,” he added.

Tavares also said that Stellantis aims to generate $19.6 billion in revenue in China by 2030 with cars from its 14 brands. However, he also complained about unequal treatment from Beijing. “The red carpet has been rolled out for Chinese manufacturers in Europe and this is not how we are welcomed in China,” he said, adding further, “import taxes on vehicles coming from China should be symmetrical to those applied to Western cars to China”.

Date of first publication: October 18, 2022, 2:49 PM IST