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Stellantis aims to expand footprint

Stellantis aims to expand footprint

25 Dec 2023

Stellantis NV, one of the world’s largest carmakers, is contemplating a significant expansion in Malaysia by producing its first electric vehicle (EV) here by 2024 as well as introducing more brands, besides the flagship Peugeot and Citroën.

It is learnt that Stellantis – a merger between France’s Peugeot SA and Italy-US group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV – had been doing testing of several models from brands such as Opel, Alfa Romeo and DS here since the past two years.

The group has 14 brands which also include Jeep, Abarth, Vauxhall, Dodge, Ram, Maserati, Chrysler and Fiat.

Stellantis is directly handling its distribution and sales in Malaysia, while the role of its local partner Bermaz Auto Bhd is scaled down to super dealer from exclusive distributor.

Stellantis chief operating officer for Asean and general distributors Daniel Gonzalez said building on the rich history of the Peugeot brand and bolstering its ties with customers in the country are the group’s primary objectives.

“We are going to launch the new Peugeot 408 by April next year. Beyond Peugeot, we have ambitious plans to introduce globally-renowned brands in Malaysia. This move signifies our long-term investment commitment to the Malaysian market.

“We will see a new brand showing up, hopefully very soon. With the STLA Medium platform, there will be the possibility to assemble Jeep models, and that production will also be for export and not only cater for the local market,” he told Business Times in an interview recently.

In a groundbreaking initiative, Gonzalez said Stellantis also aims to assemble its first EV in Malaysia by the second half of 2024.

He said the STLA Medium vehicle, featuring the electric version of the Peugeot 3008, is slated for production in 2025.

“Considering Malaysia’s current automotive landscape, where only three per cent of the industry comprises EVs, Stellantis acknowledges the challenges but remains optimistic about the shift towards cleaner energy.

“The lower cost of gas in Malaysia poses a unique challenge, making it crucial for us to introduce a diverse range of vehicles, including both electric and gas models, to cater to the varying preferences of the Malaysian market,” he said.

STLA Medium is a global Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) by-design platform with state-of-the-art features including best-in-class range of 700 kilometres, energy efficiency, embedded power and charging power. This enables the creation of more BEV ranges suited to the needs of Asean consumers.

This can result in local sourcing opportunities for local suppliers and manufacturers of over RM5 billion within the next four years, translating into more job opportunities, growing core and ancillary businesses within the electrification ecosystem and contributing to the overall economy.

Stellantis is investing over RM2 billion (€400 million) to introduce the STLA Medium platform, which was unveiled globally in June this year, to the Asean region.

Gonzalez said the other exciting prospects on the horizon is the potential local manufacturing of BEVs at Stellantis’ plant in Gurun. Kedah.

Beyond that, Gonzalez said the company could see a multitude of expansions in the electrification ecosystem.

“This includes local assembly of battery packs, which could also translate to RM5 billion (roughly €990 million euros) worth of potential investment for sourcing of parts from local companies in Malaysia.

“Thus, this will contribute towards generating job opportunities and business for local companies, as well as contributing towards the country’s economy. We believe that our strong portfolio of brands and our investment in electrification will boost the Malaysian economy and position Malaysia as a key player in the Asean automotive industry.”

Stellantis, he said, is looking at forming partnerships with local companies, in-line with its plans to launch new BEV models in the Asean region.

Gonzalez said there are plans to expand the production position due to its drive towards electrification adoption for the Malaysian and Asean market.

The company is aiming to increase the Gurun plant’s production capacity to 114 per cent by 2026.

“To achieve this, we are  going to increase manpower by 80 per cent in the next three years and set up a technical centre with over 100 engineers employed. For Gurun, we are taking steps to achieve 60 per cent energy autonomy by 2025.

“Stellantis is also investing heavily in the Asean region, including setting up a fully functional Regional Training Academy and Centre for competency-based upskilling in product, commercial, and after-sales services, and forging business partnerships with local companies to develop new mobility solutions and services,” he added.

Stellantis, with over €180 billion in net revenues in 2022 and a commercial presence in 130 markets, aims to have over 75 BEVs and reach global annual BEV sales of five million vehicles by 2030.

Source: NST