The pandemic slows down the electric 500, Stellantis summons the trade unions. Fears about diesel-

To understand why the score on the car of this government (but also of the previous one) so far too shy it is better to start from a news that has passed under the radar. The leaders of Magneti Marelli – sold recently Fiat Chrysler to the Japanese of Calsonic Kansei controlled by the US Kkr fund – have decided to move an entire production line for the Porsche electric motor from the Bari plant to a plant in Germany. The skills and workers of our country are penalized because the decisions pertain to multinationals that have their heads elsewhere and it becomes a chase to ask for income support measures with social safety nets.

A scheme that could be replicated for Iveco, owned by Cnh Industrial (whose controlling shareholder Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli-Elkann-Nasi), which is targeted by the Chinese of Faw together with a stake in the powertrain division of FPT industrial which assembles engines and generators also on behalf of third parties. It would be yet another Italian brand that ends up abroad and for this reason the operation ended under the lens of the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti who feared the hypothesis of applying the golden power on the operation blocking the negotiation if it were to be ascertained that it is a strategic company for Italy. It would however be necessary that instead of thinking about an obstacle-type instrument, we should also think of an industrial policy on sustainable mobility in accordance with the re-branding that the Minister of Transport Enrico Giovannini has just done. Perhaps involving Cassa Depositi which must use the 40 billion of the Relaunch Assets on companies in the country which still lack an implementation decree from the Treasury Ministry.

Turin sources say, for example, that in Mirafiori not everything is going the right way on the electric 500. Sales volumes would not be in line with expectations. Currently 210 cars a day would be produced, far from the target of 300 at full capacity and 70 thousand per year, a target filtered by the former number one EMEA of FCA Pietro Gorlier. If volumes are also reduced due to distancing measures (which heavily affects the distribution network of dealers who have yet to dispose of the unsold stock of 2020), perhaps we should also ask ourselves about what Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, has in mind. has just decided to convene the Italian trade unions on April 15, at their request.

An attempt was made to convey interest to Magneti Marelli of private partners around a consortium led by Alberto Bombassei’s Brembo but then nothing came of it. This time there is talk of the need for a consolidation among the operators of the tricolor components around Adler in order not to risk disappearing compared to the greater specific weight that the French company Faurecia will have, one of the world leaders in the sector, whose dividends from future management will also be distributed to the former FCA members, therefore also the Agnelli. On Iveco, someone outlines the need to think in a consolidation operation that also concerns the Italian Bus Industry in whose capital there are Invitalia, the financial arm of the Ministry of Development and resources of the Treasury, and Leonardo, controlled by the same ministry of ‘ Economy.

It would then be necessary for someone in the executive to disclose the conditionalities linked to that 6.3 billion euro loan to the subsidiary FCA Italy disbursed last year by Intesa Sanpaolo with the state umbrella of the Sace guarantee at 80% of the amount. There would be employment constraints on the Italian plants that must pass under the cost-benefit analysis of Tavares who chose a first line of managers more attributable to the former PSAs. The former Deputy Minister of the Treasury Antonio Misiani had feared the need for our Cassa Depositi to enter the capital of Stellantis. But it seemed like an impromptu statement with no falling point.

Explains Michele De Palma, car manager of Fiom Cgil, that Stellantis is already unilaterally carrying out a cost reduction that is causing changes in the working conditions and effects on service workers. But the main problem is the increase in layoffs, not only due to the trend on the car market in Europe, but also due to the absence of eco-sustainable models resulting from the lack of investments in the current plan. In filigree the reasoning is linked to the diesel engine crisis that inevitably affects the plants of Pratola Serra and Cento.

Electrification will have further impacts in the factories where gearboxes and propulsions are produced. Pratola greenhouse in crisis for several years that has been buffered through the production of masks. The arrival of the new engine for the Ducato (lost by CNH at the Foggia plant) so as not to saturate the plant and in any case the electrification process also started for light commercial vehicles. The other plant that exclusively produces diesel technology, large displacement engines for the American market (RAM), industrial and marine engines, the VM of Cento. Driven by technological change, Volkswagen has announced a cut of 5,000 workers (pre-retirements or “part-time” retirements using the mechanism provided by the bargaining but blocking the “generational relay”) to recover resources to invest in electrification. De Palma wonders what the productive mission of these plants will be. Nor is a table open to the Ministry of Development that inevitably also involves Transport and the new Mite for the energy transition entrusted to Roberto Cingolani. The confederates have been asking for a long time to open a real debate on cars and sustainable mobility. For now, the void.

On the installed capacity and the relative productivity of the plants Italians ex FCA we are at 46% of the potential compared to 73% of the French. Due to the lack of models to be launched on the market despite the fact that the FCA plants have benefited from important investments, up to 5 billion, of the Italy plan in recent years. Alfa Romeo recorded a drop in February 2021 over the previous year of 45% of new registrations, bringing Cassino to an all-time low in production capacity. The plants should therefore be exploited better but will depend on the choices of Tavares. But it is clear that we are facing the risk of a heavy restructuring of the entire component value chain. In which Italy has not even thought of a strategy as France did with Macron which grounded a vast program of assembly and maintenance insourcing asking to saturate the national plants.

And then there is a research and development theme. From the next steps of Stellantis it will be understood which centers to focus on. For the moment, the construction of a battery supply chain in our country also seems very timid. We should build at least one or more gigafactories in Italy to produce them but the project just announced by Italvolt still seems shrouded in fog because there are no orders and contracts with Stelllantis. Having understood the future of the robotics jewel FCA Comau, it should go to spin-off for a relative listing on the stock exchange. But uncertainty reigns supreme.


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