Stellantis slows down while waiting for new models – 04/30/2024 at 4:24 p.m.

Stellantis slows down while waiting for new models – 04/30/2024 at 4:24 p.m.
Stellantis slows down while waiting for new models – 04/30/2024 at 4:24 p.m.

The turnover of Stellantis, the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer, fell by 12% in the first quarter (AFP / JEFF KOWALSKY)

The car manufacturer Stellantis announced on Tuesday a slowdown in its activity in the first quarter, but is counting on the upcoming launch of many new models to bounce back.

The turnover of the world’s fourth largest manufacturer in the automotive sector fell 12% year-on-year in the first quarter.

This is the second consecutive quarter of decline for the group of fifteen brands, after years of record results since its founding in 2021, with the merger of PSA and Fiat-Chrysler.

The group achieved a turnover of 41.7 billion euros in the first quarter, for 1.3 million vehicles delivered worldwide (-10%), its management indicated during a press conference in line.

Its sales were weaker than expected and the group must manage a high level of inventory, commented analyst Tom Narayan of RBC Capital Markets.

Stellantis shares were down around 8% around 4:00 p.m. on the Paris Stock Exchange.

The group’s management has nevertheless confirmed its forecasts for the year 2024. It is targeting an operating margin between 10 and 11% in the first half (compared to 14.4% in the first half of 2023), and an improvement in the second, specified its financial director Natalie Knight during a conference for financial analysts.

The order book remains at a “good level”, with three months of sales ahead, according to the group.

“If Stellantis succeeds in reducing inventory and maintains strong pricing, investors should not be bothered by a decline in sales volumes,” Mr. Narayan said in a note.

– “Transition period” –

The automobile giant was held back in the first quarter by much lower sales of its aging models and by clearance operations.

The first quarter of 2024 also suffered from a high basis of comparison with the first quarter of 2023, which marked the resumption of deliveries after months of logistical problems.

“This is a transition period, as advertised,” explained Natalie Knight. “Our performance will accelerate throughout the year,” she added.

Turnover fell 15% in North America, its main market, where sales are slow, particularly on models awaiting a new version, such as the Ram 1500 pickup or the Dodge Charger sedan.

The group is trying to regain control of this market, by combining efforts on its list prices with a reduction in discounts, to protect its margins.

In Europe, turnover fell by 13%, with lower sales too, particularly for low-emission vehicles.

The star SUV Peugeot 3008, for example, experienced a drop in sales while waiting for its electric version, scheduled for the second quarter.

Sales of the Fiat 500 and Opel Mokka also declined, while the small SUV Jeep Avenger, the Fiat Ducato utility vehicle and the small Panda, as well as the Citroën C3, sold well.

The group’s luxury division, Maserati, pressed the brakes hard: its turnover was halved over one year, in particular because of low sales of its Grecale and Levante SUVs in the United States, Stellantis said. .

– Electric launches –

The group plans to bounce back in the coming quarters by stepping up its savings measures, while launching 21 new models or model refreshes, including numerous electric versions.

The electric Peugeot 3008 and Ram pickup should play the leading roles, as will the Citroën ë-C3 which should constitute Stellantis’ entry-level electric range.

“These are not necessarily the largest volumes, but they trigger demand,” underlined Natalie Knight.

Sales of the group’s electric models have slowed their growth with +8% worldwide over one year. The electricity market is generally less dynamic than in 2023, and “many large groups are having problems, while we maintain our position,” underlined Ms. Knight.

The group is also counting on its “multi-energy” platforms, gasoline, hybrid or electric, to adapt to the hesitant pace of the transition.

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