Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has a message for the company's U.S. dealers, many of whom already have been through multiple mergers with Chrysler: "I love you."
But Tavares, in an exclusive interview with Automotive News, said he needs to spend some time visiting major operational centers before he'll have a chance to meet with dealers about the new company's plans. Longer term, he said, Stellantis might consider a captive lender in the U.S. and suggested that the chances of the Peugeot brand coming stateside have declined.
"We love our dealers because they are part of the mobility ecosystem," Tavares said. "We love them. They are not perfect, but we are not perfect, either, so we can always try to improve the operational excellence of what we do."
Tavares said his responsibility now that the merger between PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been completed is to invite dealers to move along with Stellantis and adapt to a new world. Doing so together, Tavares said, will "protect our common interests in a much more efficient way."
The Stellantis era begins with around 2,600 dealerships in the U.S. selling seven brands with an assortment of outlooks. Jeep and Ram carry the region with a broad lineup of crossovers and pickups, but Fiat and Chrysler have lower volumes and murky futures.