MILAN -- Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares sought to reassure Italian workers that no plants would be closed as a consequence of the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, saying the combined strength of the two companies would act as a "shield" against job losses.
Tavares spoke by video conference with representatives of the largest Italian metalworkers' unions on Wednesday, two days after Stellantis shares began trading.
Michele de Palma of the FIOM metalworkers union, who was in the meeting, said that Tavares told them he would "involve the unions" in preparing the Stellantis business plan.
FCA had been struggling with overcapacity at its European factories, with utilization rates at 55 percent, according to LMC Automotive, the Detroit News reported. In comparison, PSA factories run at 68 percent utilization, LMC said.
About 55,000 people work at FCA's operations in Italy, a spokesman said, including subsidiaries such as robot maker Comau.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Tavares, the former CEO of PSA, said Stellantis would create billions of savings in R&D, purchasing and manufacturing, giving the group the ability to launch "sister cars" to PSA models at relatively low additional cost.
Stellantis is expected to generate at least 5 billion euros ($6 billion) in annual synergies, Tavares has said, a central rationale for the merger. Such synergies would act as a shield to protect and increase production levels, rather than drive job cuts, he said.
Tavares pointed to the new-generation Opel Corsa small hatchback as a potential blueprint for future Fiat models. The Corsa was developed in less than two years on the same CMP platform as the Peugeot 208 after PSA bought Opel/Vauxhall from GM in 2017.