As the business world roils in response to geopolitical tensions and supply chain challenges, Stellantis is making some changes related to its global footprint.
According to Bloomberg, the automaker has concerns about its operations in China, with Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares revealing recently that the company plans to transition to a strategy he referred to as “asset light.”
With this, the company has closed its only Jeep plant on Chinese soil.
Tavares suggested that the plant, which was producing Jeep Cherokee, Renegade, Compass and Grand Commander models for the Chinese market, was collateral damage from ongoing trade spats.
He indicated he was fearful that “political interference” could mean the plant could fall victim to “cross-sanctions” – perhaps the type that are hitting Russia in the event China were to act on rising tensions with Taiwan.
But this doesn’t appear to be the only reason Stellantis is terminating its 12-year partnership with China’s state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group. Tavares cites “a major shift” in the Chinese market that’s causing foreign vehicle sales to fall, due at least in part to the Chinese Communist Party’s policies that support domestic automakers. He also alluded to “broken trust” between Stellantis and its Chinese partners.
The following day, Guangzhou Automobile Group fired back, with Bloomberg reporting that the auto group called Tavares’ comments “unbelievable” and said that the real reason Stellantis was abandoning the venture was because it “failed”… due to “a lack of respect for customers in the Chinese automobile market.”