Ellesmere Port 60th anniversary 120624Ellesmere Port 60th anniversary 120624


Dire warning from Stellantis as it says it could close UK factories over EV quotas and demand

  • Stellantis UK managing director speaks out at SMMT summit
  • Maria Grazia Davino blasts ZEV mandate and lack of incentives
  • She blasts government for being ‘stupid’
  • Manufacturer to decide in less than 12 months whether to stay or go

Time 2:39 pm, June 25, 2024

Stellantis may be forced to shut its Ellesmere Port and Luton plants if quota rules over EVs aren’t loosened and demand doesn’t increase. 

That was the dire warning today from the manufacturer’s UK MD, Maria Grazia Davino, who told a press conference organised by the SMMT at its International Automotive Summit that the Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot manufacturer would decide on its operations here in ‘less than a year’.

She said the government was ‘stupid’ for not working with the automotive industry in order to save jobs.

Grazia Davino emphasised that Stellantis didn’t want to turn its back on the UK but said it may be left with no choice.

The ‘unreasonable’ ZEV mandate imposes an increasing quota of EV sales on manufacturers, and Grazia Davino said people needed incentives where VAT was concerned because demand was ‘soft’.

She added that businesses needed more incentives to buy electric vans as well, otherwise it may have no choice but to move its manufacturing elsewhere.

‘You have to make strategies that are based on efficiency. I want to keep the production [in the] UK and I want to be clear on this,’ Grazia Davino was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

‘The demand is not coming. We expect the government whoever it is to respond to this. We work together in the country for the benefit of the health of the economy and the people,’ she said.

‘Whoever gets to the government they have to listen. In the UK, there will be consequences for sure on the production. Stellantis UK does not stop. Stellantis production in the UK could stop.’

Stellantis wants its electric vans that are made here to be counted as cars, which would make the ZEV mandate targets far easier to reach.

The UK and European automotive industry managed to avoid ‘cliff-edge’ tariffs on EV exports and imports across the Channel earlier this year, after a Brexit trade deal clause was suspended for three years following pressure by manufacturers at home and abroad on EU leaders.

Grazia Davino added that Stellantis’s business model was being affected by the government’s policy on EVs to the extent that it had no alternative but to ‘invest more’ than the market was demanding while EV sales were plateauing.

That made staying here less viable than making vehicles abroad.

She called for a number of moves to help boost demand, such as cutting VAT on EVs as well as on the electricity used to charge them, plus a better network of chargers and insurance incentives.

In April, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares threatened to slash its presence in the UK because of the ‘terrible’ ZEV mandate. He said the quotas were twice the market demand.

It was only this month that Stellantis was celebrating the 60th anniversary of vehicle production at Ellesmere Port.

This article was originally published at 2.39pm on June 25 and amended at 5.01pm after The Guardian altered its reporting of Maria Grazia Davino’s comments

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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