Stellantis has announced it will be terminating contracts with all of its dealers across Europe with two years’ notice.
Car Dealer has heard that retailers for the group were told in a conference with Stellantis country manager UK Alison Jones this morning (May 19) that they would find out in July if they would be keeping their franchises.
In a statement released online, it explained that its ‘vision is to promote a sustainable distribution model with an efficient, optimised and effective Stellantis distribution network’.
It has said this is due to upcoming changes to EU block exemption, which will lead to changes in distribution contracts.
However, it added that ‘in this context, sales and service distribution agreements of all Stellantis brands will be terminated with two year’s [sic] notice.’
In the UK this includes Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Jeep but not Maserati.
The statement said: ‘The new distribution network will be selected shortly after on the basis of key objective drivers and criteria.
‘Retailer representatives will be invited to dedicated meetings to contribute to the development of the future Stellantis distribution plans and strategy, which will pave the way for the new Stellantis distribution scheme, taking into account the BER [block exemption regulations] framework as of June 2023.’
As of February 2021, there were 931 dealerships in the Stellantis group. Dealers present at the meeting said they were given no indication as to how many sites will get new contracts with Stellantis.
One dealer, who did not want to be named, commented that Stellantis said it was ‘looking for multi-franchise sites but these would need to have clear brand separation’. However, that wouldn’t be exclusively what it wanted in the future.
UHY Hacker Young partner David Kendrick commented: ‘We need to find out what the detail is, but if they’re going to issue termination notices to all brand partners then that implies there’s going to be an awful lot of reorganisation.
‘Perhaps they’re looking to consolidate all of their brand partners within regions.’
Following the news, Vertu Motors put out a notice to the stock market explaining that it ‘has a strong relationship with Stellantis and performs operationally at a high level for its brands’.
It has 27 sales locations with Stellantis franchises and added: ‘The board is confident that the reorganisation of the Stellantis dealer network announced will have a positive impact on the group’s operations and the scale of its activities.’