Dodge Maker Stellantis Posts Record Profit, Announces $4.5 Billion Payout to Shareholders
Dodge Maker Stellantis Posts Record Profit, Announces $4.5 Billion Payout to Shareholders

By Tom Ozimek

Car manufacturer Stellantis announced its full-year results on Wednesday, revealing that net profit rose 26 percent to $17.9 billion, the company’s highest annual profit on record.

Stellantis disclosed the record-beating results in a Feb. 22 release, which attributed its financial performance partly on its ability to pass on higher manufacturing costs to customers in a year that saw production input costs soar.

“Price increases were substantial in 2022 and they will be lower in 2023,” Stellantis Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said on a call with reporters.

Inflation, which in 2022 hit multi-decade highs, is expected to be lower in 2023, reducing the scope to raise prices.

“The challenge for 2023 is to offset inflation with pricing but also with an improvement in the industrial efficiency,” Palmer added.

Stellantis also announced a $4.47 billion dividend payout—or $1.43 per share—a move that’s subject to shareholder approval.

The Ram 1500 Revolution electric battery-powered pickup truck is displayed on stage during an event in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 5, 2023. (John Locher/AP Photo)

What’s Behind the Record Profit?

Net revenues for the manufacturer of such brands as Dodge, Jeep, and Ram rose 18 percent to $190.8 billion thanks to “strong net pricing, favorable vehicle mix, and positive FX translation effects.”

The FX factor refers to some combination of exchange rate fluctuations and hedging strategies that ended up boosting the company’s bottom line. Stellantis, one of the world’s biggest carmakers, has operations in nearly 30 countries.

The company said all of its regions were growing and posting record profits. Its so-called “Third Engine” region—which includes Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and South America—grew net revenues by 34 percent.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement that the strong financial performance demonstrates in part the company’s European electrification strategy.

“In addition to our record financial results and the focused execution of the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, we also demonstrated the effectiveness of our electrification strategy in Europe,” Tavares said.

CEO of Stellantis Carlos Tavares poses on the first day of the 2022 Paris auto show in Paris, France, on Oct. 17, 2022. (Eric Piermont / AFP via Getty Images)

With 23 BEVs on the European market, Stellantis sold 288,000 such vehicles in Europe. It hopes to double that to 47 models by the end of 2024 and to that end will be opening three gigafactories in Europe—in France, Germany, and Italy.

Globally, Stellantis saw a 41 percent increase in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales. The company expects to sell 5 million BEVs by 2030.

“We now have the technology, the products, the raw materials, and the full battery ecosystem to lead that same transformative journey in North America, starting with our first fully electric Ram vehicles from 2023 and Jeep from 2024,” Tavares said in the statement.

Gigafactories in North America

Stellantis also confirmed locations for two gigafactories in North America.

A $2.5 billion joint venture with Samsung will bring one of the facilities to Indiana, where some 1,400 workers are expected to be employed.

The other facility will be in Windsor, Ontario, a collaboration with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution that seeks to create around 2,500 jobs.

Over the next two years, the company’s Jeep brand will start selling two fully electric SUVs in North America.

Stellantis also says its Ram brand will roll out an electric pickup truck in 2023, joining the rush of competitors looking to stake out a chunk of the full-size truck market.

The EV push in North America has gotten a leg up from big government subsidies that are part of the Biden administration’s push for greater electrification amid its fight against climate change.

Currently, EVs make up around 5 percent of new-vehicle sales in the United States, with President Joe Biden setting a goal of 50 percent by 2030.

A driver charges his electric vehicle at a charging station as the California Independent System Operator announced a statewide electricity Flex Alert urging conservation to avoid blackouts in Monterey Park, Calif., on Aug. 31, 2022. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Supply Chain Constraints

Stellantis’ vehicle deliveries fell 2 percent last year, mostly due to constraints around logistics and semiconductors.

“Challenges continue in securing capacity for vehicle outbound transportation: initially it was from plants to compounds and from compounds to dealers. We’ve largely resolved the issue from plants to compounds but it continues on the constraints we have from compounds to dealers,” Palmer said on the call.

“Semiconductors continue to be a problem, I don’t think the situation will be fully resolved in 2023,” he added.

In an analysis, Cox Automotive said Stellantis has managed better than many carmakers to adapt to supply chain disruptions.

“Stellantis has steered skillfully through the global computer chip shortage, maintaining the most abundant vehicle inventory in the U.S. auto industry for the past year while other automakers struggled with skimpy supply,” it said in the analysis.

“Still, Stellantis posted a decline in U.S. sales in the fourth quarter while also cutting incentives. Its average transaction price rose to over $55,000, thanks mostly to a pair of pricey new Jeeps and strong Dodge pricing increases,” it added.

Jeep is Stellantis’ highest-volume brand in North America, with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe the top-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in both the United States and Canada.

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