Stellantis Threatens U.K. Production Plants If BEV Demand Stalls

Government must boost consumer BEV take-up or see automaker pull the plug on its British production operations, executive warns.

Paul Myles, European Editor

June 25, 2024

2 Min Read
Vauxhall Mokka E
Government pushed to offer consumer grants for BEVs like Vauxhall Mokka-e.

Stellantis has again put its British production plants on the firing line if the next U.K. government doesn’t do enough to boost consumer take-up of battery-electric vehicles.

The automotive group threatened to shutter the Ellesmere Port production plant in England’s northwest region for its Vauxhall brand more than a year ago, demanding that automotive trading relations were secured with Europe post-Brexit. Now the proposed production of electric light-commercial vehicles at its Luton plant just north of London could also be threatened.

Reuters reports a top Stellantis executive says the plants are back under threat if the next government, roundly believed to be a Labour Party administration, cannot improve sales of its BEVs. While there are incentives offered to commercial fleets to make the switch to BEVs, no such financial advantages are provided to private buyers despite the vehicles costing considerably more than their ICE equivalents.

Addressing a news conference held by the U.K.’s industry representative the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in London, Stellantis's U.K. managing director, Maria Grazia Davino, says a decision on the future of its U.K. production facilities will probably come in “less than a year.”

This stumbling block is that the outgoing government has demanded that, from this year, automakers must sell 22% of new cars as BEVs or face fines of £15,000 ($19,033) per non-compliant vehicle sold. In the European Union, automakers can meet CO2 emissions reduction targets by selling a mixture of hybrids and BEVs.

According to SMMT data, BEVs only made up 16.1% of automaker sales in the U.K. for the year to May. Grazia Davino says: “In the U.K. there will be consequences (of the mandates) for sure. Stellantis U.K. does not stop, but Stellantis production in the U.K. could stop. The fact is that demand is not there.”

She adds that Stellantis brands, including Peugeot, Fiat, Vauxhall and Jeep, may import fewer fossil-fuel models into the U.K. than is currently the case to hit the 22% target. However, Grazia Davino concludes: “Let me be clear, I want to keep the production in the U.K.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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