Stellantis beats Tesla in Q3 in Europe as Jeep and Ram EVs arrive in the US
One of the Detroit Three automakers knocked Tesla out of second place in electric vehicle sales in Europe, and there’s more where that came from, Stellantis Chief Financial Officer Natalie Knight told investors this week.
The Amsterdam-based company, with its U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, has about 16% of the market with 28 battery electric vehicles on the market globally, and that’s growing, Knight said after the third-quarter shipments and revenue report.
“The next threshold for us as a company is: How do we get to 20%? Give us a little time and energy to do that,” Knight said. “But, as a group, that’s something we’re very focused on. I think that position for us as No. 2 in the market and overtaking Tesla has been an important psychological hurdle for us as a company.”
Tesla releases global total numbers. Knight said Stellantis determined it saw more than 93,000 battery electric vehicles sold globally between July and September. Stellantis pointed out that this number increased in Europe by an estimated 33% compared to the previous year.
Since the beginning of the year to date, Stellantis brands have sold about 262,000 battery electric vehicles, Knight said.
While some Detroit Three automakers have indicated they are lowering their expectations for production and sales of electric vehicles in the United States, citing slowing demand, the company that owns Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, Dodge and Fiat is preparing to accelerate its plans in the United States and around the world.
What is sold in Europe
Stellantis’ global battery electric vehicle sales rose 37% year-on-year, driven mostly by the new Jeep Avenger, which sells for about US$42,430, and commercial vehicles, led by the Citroen Berlingo.
The Avenger won 11 industry awards, including the 2023 European Car of the Year award, beating the Kia Niro, Nissan Ariya, Peugeot 408, Renault Austral, Subaru Solterra/Toyota bZ4X and Volkswagen ID Buzz. The Avenger also won the Best Family SUV award at the 2023 Women’s World Car of the Year award.
Stellantis is also seeing success with the new Peugeot E-208, Citroën Ami and Fiat 500e.
Next year, the carmaker plans to launch the Fiat 600e, Fiat Topolino, Peugeot 3008 SUV, Peugeot 5008 seven-seat SUV and Peugeot 408 SUV next year.
What awaits US consumers?
Stellantis is moving factories to launch a new electric lineup in the U.S. in the coming months, including the Ram ProMaster electric truck that will go into production at the end of 2023. Next year are the Jeep Wagoneer S SUV, Jeep Recon, Ram 1500 REV and Dodge Charger Daytona. SRT. The Fiat 500e will be available in 2024 as well.
“We expect to see our sales improve,” Knight said. “We have a lot of exciting products in terms of electric vehicles in the US.”
After completing her first 100 days with the company, she said, “We have a good plan.”
Looking ahead, Knight said she sees gains in sales, consumer appeal and shareholder value.
“We have the ability to be braver and more thoughtful about how we look at making sure the power of our very powerful cash generation machine is put to the best use,” she said.
What makes electric vehicles sell?
The key is technology and affordability, Knight said. She said the upcoming vehicles from Stellantis focus on affordability and accessibility.
Keeping costs low requires good relationships with parts suppliers, and Stellantis is proud of its parts suppliers, the company said. A supplier study released this year showed that Stellantis made significant gains in trust, while GM and Toyota maintained strong relationships. By contrast, Ford ranked poorly.
Jim Farley, CEO of Knight & Ford, said American buyers want lower prices for electric vehicles.
Which country will get the Ford F-150 Lightning?
In April, Ford announced that shipments of the all-electric F-150 Lightning would be headed to Norway, in response to customer demand. Now Ford is adding Switzerland as the second European market for the pickup truck.
The planned launch of the 2023 Lightning truck at the end of this month “will prove that the electric truck is at home not only in cities, but also in the middle of nature and on challenging Alpine roads,” Ford said.
Orders start this month at $139,480.
“We’re excited that more customers will be able to experience the electric F-150 Lightning,” said Darren Palmer, Ford’s vice president of global electric vehicle programs. “With sales of new electric vehicles in Switzerland reaching nearly 20%, it is the perfect time to bring the truck to market and just in time for winter in the Alps.”
Is GM planning to return to Europe anytime soon?
On Oct. 5, General Motors will launch Cadillac’s all-electric, direct-to-consumer business in Europe, the company confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. General Motors spokeswoman Chaity Sen said that the Cadillac Lyric will be the first electric car to be launched in six markets in Europe, starting with Switzerland, Sweden and France.
GM plans to sell luxury and sport-utility models of the Lyriq in Europe starting at about $90,300, Sen said. Deliveries will begin during the first half of 2024. In Europe, the Lyriq will come standard with a leather package, performance tires and a 22-kilowatt charger. GM, which no longer has a dealer presence in Europe, will have a partner to service the vehicles and share its name in the near future, Sen said.
As for GM’s push into the luxury market, that’s the only way back into Europe, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. “Direct-to-consumer makes sense when you’re a low-volume niche brand.”
Analyst: New tax breaks for electric vehicles in the US start in January
While Tesla as a brand is strong, the Stellantis family of electric and hybrid vehicles adds to a large and competitive lineup of all-electric vehicles that is helping to grow the global market, Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights in Detroit, told the Free Press. Wednesday.
“If you actually look at the numbers, electric vehicle sales in the United States are up and so are inventories,” he said. “Prices are still high. Interest rates are making it expensive to get a car loan. Point-of-sale tax credits start in January 2024, so you’ll see sales pick up.”
Why does Stellantis (Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Fiat) have street cred?
Stellantis-owned brands have been building and selling electric vehicles for a long time in Europe, and they’ve used what they’ve learned abroad to plan what’s next in North America, Fiorani said.
“Education is certainly part of this shift, such as teaching consumers that range anxiety is a myth in most cases in their normal usage,” he said Wednesday. “Charging infrastructure is pretty much available where you need it. And since 90% of U.S. drivers don’t drive plugged-in cars, they’re not looking for it.”
As Stellantis positions itself in small crossovers, hatchbacks and commercial vehicles as a competitor to Tesla, it will help move Stellantis and its financials forward as they find more buyers for these different electric vehicles, Fiorani said. But Tesla still dominates the US market.
“We are at the beginning of this marathon,” he said. “It takes a while for everyone to accept the idea.”
Free Press staff writer Jimmy L. LaRue contributed to this report.
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