Stellantis EV output in Italy falls short as buyers wait for incentives – union

MILAN (Reuters) -Stellantis produced many fewer fully-electric 500e cars in Italy than planned last year, the FIM CISL union said on Friday, as buyers waited for the government to roll-out purchasing incentives for electric vehicle (EVs).

The automaker, home to brands including Fiat, Peugeot and Chrysler, made 751,384 vehicles in Italy last year, up 9.6% from 2022, FIM CISL leader Ferdinando Uliano said during the union’s annual press conference on Stellantis’ production in Italy.

The increase was driven by commercial vehicles, which helped to outweigh a 49% drop in the production of Maserati sports cars and the impact of a 20-day halt in production at the Turin plant that manufactures the 500e in the final part of the year.

Only 77,000 500e cars were made last year, against the more than 90,000 forecast at the start of 2023.

Uliano said EV incentives the government announced several times last year, but has yet to implement, prompted buyers to hold off, adding he expected them to be rolled out soon.

A lack of charging infrastructure is also curbing the EV market, the union added in a statement.

Sales of electric cars in Italy account for only around 4% of the total, compared with the European average of about 14%.

Uliano said the eventual rollout of the buying incentives should provide a boost this year, and the launch of the 500e in the United States should also help lift its production.

In December, the government said it planned to allocate 930 million euros ($1 billion) to help lower-income householders buy cleaner cars, such as EVs and hybrids, produced in Italy.

While the incentives aim to support demand by covering part of the cost of the purchase, Uliano said the government had reassured unions that they would translate into increased production at some of Stellantis’s plants in Italy.

The government has also said it wants to lift domestic production of cars and vans to at least 1 million a year by 2028.

To that end, Rome will work to encourage other automakers to manufacture in Italy, where Stellantis is currently the sole manufacturer, Urso said.

($1 = 0.9134 euros)

(Reporting by Valentina ZaEditing by Mark Potter)