Stellantis reports sharp fall in revenue as it shifts portfolio

Christian Meunier, chief executive officer of the Jeep brand at Stellantis NV, during the 2023 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) in New York, US, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

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Global automaker Stellantis on Tuesday reported a 12% decline in revenue in the first quarter, citing lower sales and foreign exchange effects, even as net pricing held firm.

Shares of Stellantis were down 2% at the Tuesday market open on the results.

Chief Financial Officer Natalie Knight said year-over-year shipment and net revenue comparisons were difficult due to the company’s transition to a “next generation product portfolio manufactured on new platforms.”

The Netherlands-based company, whose brands include Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroën and Maserati, plans to launch a total of 25 new models this year, including 18 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

The company debuted four models in the first quarter, with Knight saying this had set “the stage for materially improved growth and profitability in the second half of the year.”

Consolidated shipments fell by 10% to 1.335 million units in the quarter, which the company said reflected production actions and inventory management to prepare for the “new product wave” in the second half.

Like many in the auto industry, Stellantis is juggling its ambitious commitment to the electric transition — pledging that BEVs will account for 100% of its sales in Europe and 50% of those in the U.S. by the end of the decade — with supply chain challenges and questions over consumer demand and the readiness of charging infrastructure.

Mamta Valechha, analyst at Quilter Cheviot, said in an emailed note out Tuesday that Stellantis’s shortfall of around 4% against market expectations for volumes set a “sobering tone for the quarter.”

However, Valechha added that the company’s production decline came in relative to a production rebound last year. The output fall was also not just due to market pressures, but marked a “strategic choice,” as the carmaker manages inventory in order to safeguard prices ahead of its slate of new product launches, the analyst flagged.

“Looking ahead, Stellantis remains optimistic, projecting a ‘materially improved growth and profitability in the second half of the year.’ This forward-looking statement is bolstered by the company’s reaffirmation of a double-digit Adjusted Operating Income margin and a positive industrial free cash flow for the full year, despite the prevailing macroeconomic uncertainties,” Valechha said.