Fiat 500e hits road bump, Stellantis lays off thousands of workers


Stellantis has decided to temporarily lay off some 2,250 workers at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. More than half of the affected workers handle production of its all-electric pint-sized Fiat 500e, Stellantis’s first all-electric vehicle to launch in the US. Another 1,000 workers producing Maserati models will also be affected by the layoffs.

Stellantis says the layoffs will take place from February 12 to March 3 due to subdued demand for the vehicles. The automaker has previously implemented similar measures in late October and early November last year in response to what it says is weakened EV demand.

This decision, confirmed by a company spokesperson to Automotive News Europe in alignment with a union statement, has raised concerns among unions, prompting a call for immediate talks with the company.

A recent statement from an Italian union indicated that buyers were postponing the purchase of electric vehicles, anticipating government incentives to stimulate adoption.

Fiat had a rough year producing 77,000 500e cars against the more than 90,000 forecast at the beginning of 2023. Of course, its home turf of Italy has some of the lowest EV adoption rates in Europe, at just 4% of the market. But the Italian government is working to change that.

Fiat’s new 2024 500e (source: Stellantis)

Italy has some of the oldest, most polluting cars in Europe, and the country is lagging behind other European countries in EV adoption. But the Italian industry ministry is weighing a plan to sink €930 million ($1 billion) into some enticing financial incentives to nudge drivers toward electric cars. This includes an incentive topping €13,750 to allow Italian citizens with an annual income lower than €30,000 to replace old Euro 2 models (meeting emissions standards set back in 1997) for new electric cars. An EV made in Italy is even better, which could help turn things around for Fiat.

Electrek’s Take

Stellantis is, finally, launching its first all-electric vehicle to the US market with the Fiat 500e. But the retro-style city car has its work cut out for it, especially with a price tag that starts at $32,500 plus a $1,595 destination fee, with not much of a solid reputation to back that up for Americans. In Europe, Fiat is a familiar brand. In the US last year, Fiat sold practically no cars in the US – a grand total of 605 cars. It sold so few cars in the US that it is now discontinuing the few models it had on offer and going on all in on the 500e. I personally like the looks of the Fiat 500e (even though plenty of Electrek readers disagree with me on that) – but I live in Europe, where this kind of vehicle is par for the course.

But Stellantis certainly is doing a lot of shuffling around in its struggle to embrace electric, and unions aren’t happy. Last December, Stellantis announced its plans to cut thousands of jobs from its Jeep plants in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, blaming California’s emissions regulations for putting the company at a competitive disadvantage. Still, Stellantis aims to stay in the game, and has set its goal to reach 100% BEV passenger car sales in Europe by 2030, and 50% of passenger and light-duty truck BEV sales in the US by the same year. That’s five years ahead of Europe’s target of 2035.

Photos: Stellantis

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