The pandemic has brought Stellantis executives and retailers closer, says David Kelleher, chairman of the newly minted company's U.S. dealer council.
In years past, Kelleher felt executives had one agenda and dealers had another.
But during the automaker's first NADA make meeting as Stellantis — created through the combination of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group — Kelleher could feel more camaraderie as executives fielded tough questions about the merger.
"I think that this crisis helped pull us together and get a lot stronger as a bonded unit," Kelleher told Automotive News.
"We both faced it together, we both figured out how to accomplish things together, and we both ended up in a better place. Our company's better, our dealerships are better, and now the challenge is — when we get back to some sort of normalcy — can we remain there?"
Kelleher said dealers raised a variety of topics, including what the future will be for their brand portfolios, the status of the company's stair-step bonus program, and profitability. Jeff Kommor, the automaker's head of U.S. sales, told dealers that he doesn't believe Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is looking to eliminate any of its 14 brands, a source with knowledge of the meeting said.
"I don't know that those questions were closed, you know, but I'm not sure that those answers are actually scripted yet," Kelleher told Automotive News.