Chip crisis hits Italian production of Stellantis more than COVID, union says

MILAN – The impact of a global semiconductor shortage on Italian production of Stellantis this year will be worse and more lasting than the production damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Italian union said FIM-CISL.

A global shortage of microchips is pushing automakers to slow production, with Stellantis halting operations at several facilities in Europe and the United States. The automaker predicts it will make 1.4 million fewer vehicles this year.

“The semiconductor hurricane is causing production shutdowns that weigh more than the 2020 lockdown,” Ferdinando Uliano, head of FIM-CISL, said on Friday. “The forecast is that such a situation will continue throughout the first half of 2022.”

FIM-CISL said Stellantis produced 319,000 cars in Italy in the first nine months of this year, 11% more than in the same period of 2020, when operations were frozen for several weeks afterwards. the COVID-19 epidemic.

Production losses worsened significantly in the third quarter, according to Automotive news Europe calculations using FIM-CISL figures.

Production at FCA’s six Italian auto plants in the third quarter fell 46% from the same quarter of 2020, and production at the Sevel van plant was down 33%.

The most affected factory was Pomigliano, where the Panda minibus is built. Production fell 65% in the third quarter, with just 15 out of 50 production days worked.

Uliano said production for 2021 would barely match the 461,000 units produced last year.

“It’s practically impossible, the chip situation is getting more serious and we will have other heavy shutdowns,” he said, adding that a similar situation was expected with the production of vans at the Sevel plant. .

Stellantis, formed earlier this year by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Group, will operate the plant at Melfi, its largest Italian plant, for an equivalent of just six days in October.

The production shutdowns will also affect component factories, Uliano said. The Mirafiori Meccaniche gearbox plant will stop production of six-speed manual gearboxes for the entire month of October.

On the other hand, Mirafiori in Turin, where the small New 500 electric car is produced, is one of the few factories that have not undergone major shutdowns.

“Production of the BEV 500 must continue to meet carbon emission reduction targets,” said Uliano. In the first eight months, 38,187 new Model 500s were produced, he said.

“The main risk is that Stellantis decides to delay the planned investments and the launch of new models, because the chip crisis is lowering sales,” said Uliano.

The automaker will present Maserati’s Grecale SUV next month, followed by the Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV, whose sales are expected from June 2022.

Italian unions will meet with Stellantis on Monday at the Italian Ministry of Industry to discuss production and jobs in the country.

Stellantis has also decided to close the Opel plant in Eisenach in Germany until the end of the year. because of the shortage of crisps.

Andrea Malan contributed to this report

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