The Japanese electric motor giant Nidec, after committing to a $1.8 billion factory complex in Serbia, is setting its sights beyond a joint venture with Stellantis in a bid to capture a major share of Europe's fast-growing electric vehicle market.
Nidec and Stellantis are collaborating on electric motors, with the first products to be built in France and appearing on vehicles in 2022, reportedly on the next-generation Peugeot 3008 compact SUV and similar models from the group's other brands.
The joint venture, announced in 2017 by PSA Group (now part of Stellantis), is part of CEO Carlos Tavares' strategy to vertically integrate the entire electric drivetrain, from battery cells to inverters to transmissions to motors, creating savings of at least 10 percent, he has said. The addition of Fiat Chrysler brands as part of Stellantis could increase those savings.
"Sooner or later, we hope we will do more business with the Fiat side, or the Chrysler side in North America," Nidec Chief Operating Officer Jun Seki said.
Getting the French venture up and running is the first priority for Nidec, Seki said last Friday from Serbia, where he was launching the company's new factory, which could eventually employ up to 10,000 people, along with the eastern European country's top officials.
"For the next few years, we will concentrate on Stellantis. It's our most important customer in Europe," said Seki, a former co-COO at Nissan, who added that Nidec has fielded inquiries from other European automakers on supplying motors and inverters.
In the future, Nidec also would like to add business with premium segments, although Seki said that could take time.
"The reality is for the premium segment there is more hesitation from automakers to outsource," he said. "They may stick to building by themselves, and that's fine, because we are looking for volume."
"Our focus will be mainstream, but we will be there for premium customers as well," he said, adding that Nidec could supply individual components such as inverters.