MEUDON, France (Reuters) – Stellantis plans to base seven models on a fifth, low-cost platform, an executive for the automaker said on Tuesday, as it prepares to compete against an expected ‘flood’ of cheap Chinese electric (EV) cars into Europe.
The group, created in 2021 through the merger of France’s PSA and Fiat Chrysler, has said production of all its 14 brands would converge over time onto four platforms – Small, Medium, Large and Frame.
However the new Citroen e-C3 model Stellantis revealed on Tuesday is based on the so called “Smart Car” platform, derived from PSA’s CMP platform, to help the carmaker sell affordable EV cars and face increasing offers of cheap Chinese-built EVs, including Renault’s Dacia Spring.
Presenting the e-C3, costing as little as 23,300 euros ($24,640), Stellantis head for the Smart Car platform Renaud Tourte said “around” seven new cars in the future should be based on it, which is mainly dedicated to EVs but can also be used to produce internal combustion engine versions.
A larger version of the e-C3 will follow and vehicles from at least two other brands of Stellantis will be underpinned by that platform, starting from 2024, Tourte said.
Asked whether the new Fiat Panda, expected around mid-2024, would be one of them, he said it was “not completely foolish to think that”.
Stellantis-owned Opel has also said it would offer an EV model in the 25,000 euro price area.
The Smart Car platform is being industrialized in the Trnava plant in Slovakia, but could be set up in other plants, either in Europe or in Morocco, he added.
With 90% of its suppliers from low-cost countries, a reduced diversity and a cheaper battery technology from China, the Smart Car platform will allow Stellantis to cut the e-C3 price further to as low as 20.000 euros, for its shorter-range version, Citroen’s head Thierry Koskas said on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.9456 euro)
(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; writing by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by Jonathan Oatis)