For all the talk about the challenges facing the auto industry, some companies are still weathering the storm quite successfully.
Evidence of that came recently when Stellantis, the company formed when Fiat Chrysler merged with France’s PSA Group, announced its full-year financial performance – its first as a combined company.
Stellantis revealed $15.2 billion in earnings and announced that its UAW employees would be eligible for the biggest profit-sharing checks in 35 years. While last year’s checks were a little over $8,000 before taxes, this year’s booty would be $14,670.
And while CEO Carlos Tavares extolled the virtues of the company’s workforce in a statement, there was some added drama that followed.
Tavares called employees “the heart of Stellantis” and credited their “focus on execution and excellence” for the company’s record year. He even called their commitment “tireless,” which is why the sparring between Stallantis and the UAW later that day was so strange.
Company CFO Richard Palmer predicted some upcoming challenges as the company reviewed its reports and cited not just continued supply problems, but an increase in labor costs due to absenteeism he said was more pronounced in North America.
Tavares added in a media roundtable later that day that absenteeism in U.S. factories outpaced the rest of the world, and that there was a “significant difference” between the U.S. and the rest of the world that Stellantis observed using the same KPIs for all factories.
According to Automotive News, the UAW – which represents 43,000 of the company’s North American employees – didn’t take too kindly to the characterization that U.S. workers weren’t pulling their weight.
The UAW reportedly defended its workers, citing the long hours and pressure it takes to work during a pandemic.