In a surprising turn of events, automotive giant Stellantis has announced the cancellation of its participation in two major industry events – the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show and the Los Angeles Auto Show. This decision comes hot on the heels of the company’s recent announcement that it would also be skipping the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Stellantis cites the ongoing strike with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union as the primary reason behind this strategic withdrawal, emphasizing that it is part of a contingency plan.
This decision by Stellantis has raised eyebrows, particularly in light of the company’s stellar financial performance. In the first six months of 2023, Stellantis boasted a record $12.1 billion net profit, marking a remarkable 37% year-over-year increase. The North American market saw a notable 4% surge in adjusted operating income, reaching an unprecedented $8.88 billion, driven by higher net pricing and volume growth.
Leaked information from the ongoing UAW negotiations reveals that Stellantis is contemplating the sale or closure of 18 facilities across the United States. This strategic move is aimed at offsetting the costs associated with the transition to a new portfolio of electrified vehicles (EVs). This development raises significant questions about the future of the brand and its commitment to embracing the electric revolution.
Enthusiasts and industry observers are growing increasingly impatient as Stellantis continues to delay the unveiling of two highly anticipated all-electric Jeep® brand vehicles – the off-road ready Recon, Grand Wagoneer 4xe, and the urban luxury Wagoneer S. While dealers were granted a sneak peek at the annual dealer meeting earlier this year, the wider public is yet to lay eyes on these promising models. Additionally, the extended range Ram 1500 REV XR, which was promised to debut by year-end, now appears to be in jeopardy.
With the North American market still grappling with skepticism over the transition to electrification, Stellantis’s decision to withhold crucial information about its future vehicle lineup raises valid concerns. This move echoes the cautionary tale of the Daimler-Chrysler era in the early 2000s, prompting many to question the automaker’s current strategic direction. Actions like teasing new concept vehicles for a later debut in the year, only to pull the plug on the event, are leaving the public with a sense of uncertainty in a year marked by record profits.