Stellantis on Friday said that its business performance in China improved markedly in 2021, with its Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile selling more than 100,000 vehicles.
The announcement came a day after the carmaker said it would increase its stake in its 50-50 joint venture in China with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) to 75% as part of its efforts to tackle one of the weak spots in its business.
The deal remains subject to approval by the Chinese government, Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest carmaker said on Thursday.
Stellantis said more details about its plans for the Chinese market would be disclosed on March 1.
“Since day one of Stellantis, we analysed the situation together with our partners and we are now finalising our plans for China, which we consider as a strategic market in terms of untapped potential,” said Gregoire Olivier, chief operating officer.
Boosting its business in China, the world’s biggest car market, is one of the areas analysts want addressed when chief executive Carlos Tavares unveils his detailed strategy.
Created through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-owner PSA at the start of last year, Stellantis needs to do better in China where its market share remains almost negligible when compared to rivals.
Stellantis said last year it would create a simplified structure to develop the Jeep brand in China while it would keep working with GAC to grow the brand in the country.
Jefferies analysts said Tavares has shown vision and ambition with a “sustained stream of strategic initiatives”.
Tavares has mapped out a 30-billion-euro electrification strategy, and formed alliances with Amazon and iPhone assembler Foxconn to accelerate development of software and semiconductors for future connected vehicles.
He has also drawn up plans for five battery plants and cut deals with unions to keep streamlining its European operations – side-stepping potential labour conflicts and pushing the company’s operating profit margin up to around 10%.
Stellantis’ workforce was almost unchanged in the past year at around 300,000 – keeping Tavares’ promise not to cut jobs or close plants following the merger.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell
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