Home / Companies / Company Results /  Jeep maker Stellantis reports jump in profit

Stellantis NV reported a surge in annual profit and issued an upbeat forecast, a sign the global auto industry has returned to strength after nearly two years of disruptions linked to the pandemic.

The maker of the Jeep and Dodge brands said it expects industry sales to rise by 3% this year in both North America and Europe. Additionally, Stellantis said it was aiming for an adjusted operating income margin—its preferred measure of profitability—in the double digits in 2022, as well as positive free cash flow. The company said its forecast assumes economic and Covid-19 conditions remain substantially unchanged. Stellantis shares rose more than 5% in early trading.

The auto maker, formed by the combination of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA Group, reported 2021 net income of €13.22 billion, equivalent to about $15 billion—a threefold increase driven by North America, where the car maker reported a record margin. Overall revenue rose 14% last year to €152 billion, despite deep production cuts from the continuing computer-chip shortage.

Like rivals, Stellantis’s profit margins have been boosted by surging new-vehicle prices and thin selection on dealership lots, in part due to a semiconductor crunch that caused them to curtail production. Car companies sharply cut discounts and other financial incentives that they normally offer to compete for buyers’ attention.

At Stellantis, the lack of semiconductors resulted in a cut to the company’s planned production last year of about 1.7 million vehicles, or 20%. The company’s finance chief, Richard Palmer, said the issue had eased in the fourth quarter and that he expected this to continue in 2022, but that it was difficult to make precise predictions.

“I have very little visibility frankly," he said.

At the same time, Mr. Palmer said the company was dealing with inflation on raw materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, rubber, plastics and others. He said the company would continue to offset those rising prices with cost-cutting efforts and price increases.

CEO Carlos Tavares next week will present the group’s business plan up to 2030, a little over a year after the merger was completed.

Stellantis said on Wednesday that it had achieved €3.2 billion in net cash benefits from the merger, putting it ahead of schedule.

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