Tavares said that while Stellantis did better than most of its peers — with an overall adjusted EBIT margin of 11.8% in 2021 — it would continue to push to find greater efficiency.

“I’ve learned from my 40 years of automotive life that as soon as you stop pushing, you go backwards, because it’s a competitive game,” he said.

Another area where Stellantis is trying to reduce costs is in its supplier base.

Suppliers in North America have expressed concerns over what they say are new unfavorable terms, including the requirement that cost savings be passed on to Stellantis.

Tavares, without commenting directly on the report, said suppliers should bear some of the cost burden of electric vehicles.

Stellantis is doing its part to avoid raising prices for consumers — and therefore potentially depressing sales — by keeping its break-even point very low, he said.

“We need our suppliers to contribute,” he said. Tavares said that 85% of a car’s value when it leaves the factory is in exterior components, “so it’s no surprise that when you have to absorb 50% of the extra cost of electrification , your suppliers must be a significant contributor. for that extra productivity.”

Some of them do, he said, noting that it will be a “Darwinian period of transition” for suppliers as well as automakers.

“It will primarily be a race to cut costs over the next five years to protect affordability in terms of protecting the size of markets, so that we can keep the middle classes on board in new car sales,” he said. he declared.