Stellantis CEO delivers reassuring message on French competitiveness

FILE PHOTO: Carlos Tavares, when Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA, speaks during a presentation during the 88th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, told unions on Monday that French plants were competitive within the newly created automotive giant, reassuring workers on their prospects after having sworn not to cut any jobs nor close any plants.

It was the first time he met the French unions since Stellantis officially sprang from the merger of France’s PSA and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler two months ago.

“He told us (...) the 2020 results showed French plants were rather competitive”, Christine Virassamy, head of CFDT union, told Reuters.

But she added Tavares had disappointed her by not giving more details on Stellantis’ strategy for France.

Carlos Tavares led Peugeot maker PSA before the creation of Stellantis, now the world’s fourth-largest carmaker.

He met Italian unions of the former Fiat Chrysler business in late January, launching a charm offensive amid fears in Italy that Stellantis’s centre of gravity could shift towards France after the combination.

But he will have to find the right balance to preserve interests between France, Italy and the rest of Europe.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by David Gregorio