Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis: "Politicians don't listen"

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis: “Politicians don’t listen”

New manufacturers are entering the market. We also see it at the Mondial de Paris with many Chinese brands. How do you live it?

For our part, there are no surprises. The Chinese offensive was expected. Europe has caused this situation. It will be a tough battle because they offer models at very competitive prices. To respond to this, we must also be competitive, connected and even more efficient. But we are prepared because we have been investing in electrification since 2014. However, we must continue to push to produce and develop the batteries, as well as the raw materials to design them in Europe. Europe must, like the United States, establish an attractive framework to navigate in this direction.

Tell us about your movement created after leaving the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA)…

We left ACEA and created the Freedom of Mobility Forum because we saw that political decision makers do not listen to the automotive industry (see sidebar, editor’s note). Therefore, we are going to address the public opinion. Access to mobility has decreased in recent times. There is less and less freedom of mobility because the middle class cannot afford an electric vehicle. And this, even in democratic countries where freedom prevails… Therefore, we must ask ourselves the right questions and open a public debate. Do we really want to make mobility accessible to the middle class, to families? Or not ? Do we want to put the freedom of mobility in the hands of Chinese manufacturers who sell electric vehicles at very low prices? Politicians must take a clear position on these fundamental issues! We must stop restricting the use of the car, whether it has become too expensive or unusable due to new legislation, because this is causing the market to plummet and many jobs to fall.

Carlos Tavares in front of President Macron:
Carlos Tavares in front of President Macron: “Europe is doing everything backwards” – DR

Specifically, what solutions do you offer?

If Europe does not want its car industry to disappear by 2035, it must be protected. Import tariffs need to be set for Chinese vehicles until 2035 because they are 10 years ahead of us. So these barriers must fall because European manufacturers must find solutions to be competitive worldwide. We do not reject competition. We just want fair conditions to fight Chinese manufacturers. Then, solutions must be found to increase sales volumes and prevent the social gap from widening. The middle class should be able to buy a cleaner and safer car. In my opinion, this solution is already on the market: it is a light hybridization. With a recent mild hybrid vehicle, CO2 emissions are below 100 g/km, while a 12-year-old vehicle (i.e. the average age of vehicles on the road in Europe) emits twice as much on average. : about 200 g/km of CO2. In short, it is already possible to reduce emissions by 50% by allowing the middle class to buy affordable vehicles, whose price ranges between €15 and €20,000 for a city car.

“Europe has done everything backwards”

“It takes 20 years to go from electricity production based on 80% fossil fuels to 80% electricity produced by renewable energies. To build a proper cargo net, it takes 10 years. How long did it take to create electric vehicles? 5 years. So it would have been necessary to work first on green electricity production, then on the grid, and then only on fully electric vehicles. Because where is the “renewable energy? Where is the efficient charging infrastructure? Yet electric vehicles are already on the way. Europe has done everything backwards by forcing the auto industry to produce electric vehicles so fast.”

“Europe must protect its car industry”

“If Europe does not protect its manufacturers and continues to take so many risks by leaving its market completely open, especially to Chinese manufacturers, we will live the same as the aviation sector. Because 15 years ago we were all very happy to take advantage of flights. Low cost. It was great to do a city tour in Europe with a return flight for €150 to €200. Problem? Low cost companies have killed traditional companies. And today, these traditional companies offer flights to much higher prices. because they have no choice. If we want to avoid this scenario in the European automotive sector, we must act very quickly by protecting European manufacturers until 2035, the year of the switch to 100% electric.”

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