Stellantis announces mass layoffs in US and Europe

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It’s not a good week to be working at Stellantis. As it (finally) moves to try to sell EVs in the US, the automaker just laid off 400 US salaried tech workers and software engineers on Friday. Today the company announced that it was slashing more than 1,500 jobs in Turin, Italy, due to what it says are slow sales of its all-electric Fiat 500e city car.

Last Friday, some 400 salaried, nonunion workers in the US were told to work from home for a “mandatory remote work day,” and then all fired in one shot during a remote video meeting, reported the Wall Street Journal. So much for the personal touch. One mechanical engineer told WJBK Fox, a TV station in Detroit, that “it was a mass firing of everybody that was on the call.” He added that he believes the rationale for the layoffs was to move jobs to “low-cost countries,” with Stellantis outsourcing jobs to India, Mexico, and Brazil. 

Today, Stellantis added to the pile by announcing that it has now signed a deal with unions to slash some 1,500 jobs in Turin, Italy – but being that all of the employees are unionized, they will presumably have a softer landing than their US-based counterparts.

The historic home of Italy’s own Fiat, owned by Stellantis, is Turin, and that is where up to 1,520 employees, including 300 at the Miafiori factory and 744 staff, can take the option of voluntary leave with financial incentives, according to the UILM union, reports Automotive News Europe.

In January, Stellantis decided to temporarily lay off some 2,250 workers at its Mirafiori plant, with more than half of the affected workers handling the production of its all-electric Fiat 500e, Stellantis’s first all-electric vehicle to launch in the US.

A statement from an Italian union indicated that buyers in Italy at least were postponing the purchase of electric vehicles, anticipating government incentives to stimulate adoption.

As for the US workers, Stellantis told the Wall Street Journal that laid-off employees would be given a “comprehensive separation package and transition assistance.”

Electrek’s Take

Stellantis aims to spend over $50 billion through the end of the decade in its delayed shift to electric cars. The automaker says it will offer eight new EV models in the US by year’s end, and more than two dozen by 2030.

And as the company has been shifting gears, it hasn’t shied from shedding workers to save money. Last December announced that it planned to cut thousands of jobs from its Jeep plants in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, blaming California’s emissions regulations for putting the company at a competitive disadvantage. It has recently signed on to a deal with California saying that it will comply with the state’s stricter emissions policy requiring two-thirds of new cars to be zero-emissions or all-electric by 2030 – and will commit to the deal even if former President Donald Trump makes a return to office and tries to dismantle the policy.

Stellantis’s first EV available in the US is the Fiat 500e, priced at $32,500 plus a $1,595 destination fee (being made in Italy, it’s not eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit). The two-door hatchback comes powered by a 118-hp electric motor for a 149-mile range – not amazing, but enough to get around town, and Fiat is targeting the upmarket urban consumer who apparently has money to burn, good city parking, and isn’t concerned about range. But of course, so far, this strategy hasn’t been working that well.

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