MILAN -- A recent war of words between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has exposed a tough new reality: Europe's one-time homegrown national automakers have become global players ready to exploit the EU's overcapacity of car factories to obtain better government deals.
Stellantis, created by the combination of France's PSA Group and Italy's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, accounts for virtually all of Italy's car production.
Fiat output has been falling as European sales have stagnated and Stellantis has shifted production to other countries in its sprawling global network.
Stellantis' capacity utilization rate at its European factories stood at 56 percent last year, down from 64 percent in 2019 and well below the 71 percent rate at Volkswagen Group, according to GlobalData data provided to Reuters.
Automakers aim for at least 80 percent capacity utilization.