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Stellantis’ silence on Opel plans erodes trust, German states say By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Opel Headquarters in Ruesselsheim (Germany), April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BERLIN, (Reuters) – The heads of three German states in which Opel is a manufacturer wrote on Thursday to Stellantis, Opel’s chief executive. Their criticism of his failure to communicate on Opel plans was aimed at tampering with public trust.

Stellantis announced to the public late last month that Opel’s Eisenach plant will be shut down for at most three months due global chip shortages.

Stellantis, which confirmed last week that they were considering splitting the Eisenach and Opel’s biggest Ruesselsheim plants into two separate legal entities after Handelsblatt reported it.

The governments of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, and Thuringia, the states where Opel’s three German plants are located, were not told about either decision ahead of the information being made public, the state premiers said in their letter to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, seen by Reuters.

“You personally, Mr Tavares had at the previous PSA Group ensured open-and honest communication with representatives states with Opel location about your plans to Opel Germany,” said the October 14th letter sent by Malu Dreyer, Volker Bouffier, and Bodo Ramelow.

“We turn to you today with this concern letter, in order not to lose the trust of Stellantis by delivering unanticipated news.”

PSA Group, France acquired Opel in 2017. They implemented drastic cuts that led to Opel turning a profit within one year for nearly 20 years. Stellantis was formed when PSA joined Fiat Chrysler and Fiat Chrysler in early 2017.

Stellantis CEO Tavares made it clear that he needed to simplify Stellantis 14 brands and address a global capacity problem. However, he previously stated that resolving Opel’s problems would not require factory closings.

Last week, union officials expressed concern that the company could break its promise because of chip shortage. Tavares had previously stated that the chips would last until mid-2022.

Tavares was asked by the German state premiers to schedule a time for them to talk about Stellantis’ plans.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.