Vauxhall opened its revamped, electric-ready Ellesmere Port factory last month
Parent company of Fiat, Citroën, Peugeot and Vauxhall targets boost in annual global LCV sales to two million
Stellantis aims to overtake Ford to become global leader in light commercial vehicles (LCVs) by 2027, the company has said.
The multinational giant wants to boost its sales of vans and pick-up trucks from 1.6 million globally last year to around two million in 2027, which it said would be enough to overtake its key rival.
“If you want to be number one, you have beat Ford,” said Stellantis LCV boss Jean-Philippe Imparato at an event laying out the company’s future strategy in the market segment.
As part of its van push, Stellantis has rebranded its commercial business unit Pro One. Unlike Ford with its Pro unit, Stellantis won’t break out financials, but it said the rename was to “highlight the importance of the unit” within the company.
Vans and pick-ups accounted for around a third of Stellantis’s €180 billion (£156bn) revenue last year, it said.
Vans sold by its Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall brands gave it the number-one position in Europe last year, with a 31% market share, although Ford remained the top overall brand in the region.
Stellantis’s main focus is on boosting its standing among customers of pick-ups in the US, where its Ram brand sits in third place behind Ford and Chevrolet (owned by General Motors).
It also wants to grow sales in South America, where it concentrates on small and medium pick-ups, such as the Fiat Toro.
Stellantis aims to boost its van revenue to almost €100bn (£87bn) by 2030 – double that of its 2021 figure.
It doesn’t disclose profits for its individual units, but vans have recently been big money-makers for automotive companies, with pick-ups earning even greater margins, particularly in North America. For example, Mercedes-Benz said its van unit earned margins of 13% in the first quarter of this year.
Stellantis is aiming to capitalise on its market leadership in electric vans in Europe, where it sells EV versions of its compact vans (Citroën Berlingo et al) and mid-size vans (Vauxhall Vivaro et al).
The company is poised to upgrade these vans to improve their ranges and is expected to add an electric version of its large vans (Peugeot Boxer et al). Around a third of sales of its mid-size vans in Europe are electric.
Stellantis builds electric compact vans in right-hand-drive for Citroën, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port after overhauling the plant following the end of Vauxhall Astra production.
Its Luton plant currently only builds ICE mid-size vans for the UK and export but will start building electric versions “very soon”, Pro One product chief Luca Marengo told Autocar.
Stellantis is tackling Ford’s van-angled digital strategy by offering a similar data-driven productivity package to fleets after adding connectivity functions to all its vans, starting at the end of the year.
Internet connectivity allows Stellantis to collect information from vans useful to fleets, such as mileage and energy useage, and charge them a subscription fee. It can also set geofencing to prevent unauthorised journeys. The company aims to collect €5bn (£4.3bn) in revenue annually this way by 2030.
Stellantis is not only battling Ford for number one spot but also trying to hold off the Chinese, who are increasing share in markets including UK and Germany with LCV brands such as Maxus (owned by SAIC).
“The Chinese are accelerating a lot, taking a strong position in certain regions in the world,” said Pro One vice-president Xavier Peugeot. “We think we will be able to keep our position with additional levels, such as quality of the vehicles and quality of service.”
Peugeot also said Stellantis will add lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry to some of its van models to boost their price-competitiveness.