Stellantis sales in 2022 at lowest level in 26 years

Stellantis posted mixed results in 2022. From one side, it was able to increase its operating margin by 1.2 percentage points between 2021 and 2022, and become one of the world’s most profitable car makers. On the other hand, it continued to sell fewer cars, not only compared to 2021, when the merger took place, but also compared to the previous years. According to my research, the combined units sales of former FCA (including former Fiat Group and Chrysler Group), former PSA, and GM’s Opel/Vauxhall, saw their lowest level at least since 1996.

Although the global auto industry conditions have changed a lot, and the car makers are focusing more on profits than volumes, the reality is quite dramatic. All of the groups that currently form Stellantis have seen their global volumes dropped. This trend confirms the impact of many mergers: to become more competitive by cutting costs, and in many cases, selling fewer cars as a consequence of potential canibalization.

Stellantis in 2022

The group sold 5.84 million vehicles in 2022, down by 9.4% compared to the previous year. Stellantis was the world’s fourth largest behind Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai-Kia, and ahead of General Motors, Honda, and Ford. As global light vehicle sales fell by 2%, Stellantis lost market share from 8.00% in 2021 to 7.36% last year. The drop put this group among the big losers of the year, only behind Nissan, Volkswagen and Honda groups, which lost more market share.

There are many reasons for the negative result. First, the supply chain problems that did not allow to have new cars available to be sold. However, this was not an exclusive problem of Stellantis. Another problem was the vulnerability of brands like Peugeot and Fiat in Europe. For instance, Peugeot’s SUVs, which made up 42% of its volume in Europe in 2021, entered their decline phase of the commercial life: the 3008 and 5008 turned 6 years old in 2022. The age can be a key difference in the C-SUV segment, and the arrival of the latest generation Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage can tell.

Fiat faced different issues. Its lineup continued to get smaller, while it continued to offer only one SUV, which is by the way quite old now. While the overall European passenger market continued to buy more SUVs, representing 51% of the total, the Fiat 500X counted for only 7% of its volume.

The other issue was the poor offer in North America. Jeep introduced four new models between 2021 and 2022, with three of them hitting new segments for the brand. But at the same time, Dodge and Chrysler were forced to survive with the same limited lineup. In total, the four big brands for North America offered 17 different models, excluding the commercial vans. Nine of them were Jeep. As a reference, General Motors had 38 different models available, and Toyota offered 29.

Stellantis 10, 20 years ago

Although Stellantis was created in 2021 so the the both group’s operations started to be combined since that year, we can have a look at the separate results for the four companies that today make part of the group. Fiat Group (Fiat, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati), Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Dodge), PSA (Peugeot, Citroen), and Opel/Vauxhall (which made part of GM until August 2017).

In 2012, the combined sales of these four companies totaled 8.28 million units. This is 2.44 million units more than last year. PSA was the biggest volume loser, down by 1.15 million units, followed by Fiat Group, down by 832,000 units; Opel/Vauxhall lost 462,000 units. And Chrysler was stable.

The situation is even worse compared to 2002, 20 years ago. The volume that year totaled 9.59 million units, with PSA still losing the most, down by 1.45 million units. Opel/Vauxhall lost almost 1 million units, followed by Chrysler (-692,000) and Fiat Group (-612,000).

Last year’s volume was the lowest for Chrysler Group since 2011; the lowest for PSA and Opel/Vauxhall since I have data (1997); and second lowest for Fiat Group since 1997.

How has profitability evolved?

But the units sales are not as important as the profitability. In the case of Stellantis, the merger has contributed to improve it at the expense of lower volumes. In 2018, when PSA and FCA were two separate companies, their combined revenue totaled €184.4 billion of which 4.19% corresponded to operating profits. By then, their combined workforce totaled almost 410,000 employees around the world, meaning that the profits per employee were around €18,900.

Six years earlier, when Opel/Vauxhall was not part of PSA, and Ferrari was included in the FCA results, the operating profit per employee was €12,104. The operating margin has also improved considerably between these years, jumping from just 1.33% in 2006 (excluding Opel/Vauxhall) to 3.64% in 2012; then to 4.19% in 2018, and finally to a healthy 11.74% last year.

The results under the merger confirm the purpose of any merger: to increase profits by reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Today the company sells fewer cars and is smaller in terms of workforce, but it is more solid financially speaking.

Source: Financial Statements, Annual reports from Fiat Spa, Fiat Group, FCA, PSA, and Stellantis. Volume estimates for Opel/Vauxhall in 1997-2005, 2011-2012; for Fiat Group 1997-2001, 2004.


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