Electrification, connectivity, autonomous driving, fast-moving start-ups, pandemic, Brexit, shortage of semiconductors, changing consumer habits and needs, new models. And, finally, the blockade of the Suez Canal. There are many, and full of unknowns and pitfalls, the short and long-term challenges thatautomotive industry it will have to deal with in the coming years. Some manufacturers, despite many difficulties, are facing them on the right foot. Others, on the other hand, are in trouble and risk paying the price of the crisis very dearly.
Certainly not doing well Jaguar, which sails on sight in waters that are far from clear and will try to gamble almost everything on complete electrification of the range. A goal that on the upper floors of the house of the jaguar they set for 2025 and which appears quite ambitious for a company that last year it sold 102,494 cars worldwide. Less, to be clear, of the 118,369 Series 3 that BMW delivered to Europe in the same period. The management’s intentions, however, suggest that the preparation of the new business plan is well underway. On paper, thanks to an alliance with a Chinese partner, the tools to create electric platforms capable of overturning the fortunes of the company are all there. But time is running out and there is no big margin for error.
The situation isn’t much better than Alfa Romeo, that the new Stellantis leadership is X-raying like never before to figure out what hasn’t been working as it should for too many years now. Last year’s income statement is full of negative records and can be summarized in two rather disheartening figures, those relating to sales: 35,718 models in Europe and only 18,586 in the United States, a market that the Milanese company must absolutely try to regain, also exploiting a popularity that only a few other European brands, including Porsche, Mercedes and BMW, can count on. The losses of the Biscione will not be tolerated for long by Stellantis, which is already running for cover to reverse the trend. The change of course foresees, in the future, the abandonment of the development of the Giorgio platform on which they were born Giulia and Stelvio, two beautiful cars to drive but always disappointing in dealerships. There’s a new architecture on the horizon that is shared with other brands in the Stellantis galaxy, and the hope is that this move will trigger the long-awaited gear shift. The future of one of the most prestigious car factories in the world is at stake.
On the French side of Stellantis it creaks instead DS Automobiles, the former luxury brand of Citroën that since becoming a brand in itself has never managed to fully exploit the synergies guaranteed by a giant with strong shoulders like PSA. The 43,686 cars sold in 2020 they are the mirror of a global results crisis. The new flagship DS9 it will bring a breath of fresh air to the Asian markets, where sales have collapsed and the French manufacturer has to run faster in order not to lose further ground against the best German competition.
Things are not good for either Smart, which by core business should start from a privileged position in the race for new mobility, which is based on reducing emissions and improving traffic management in cities. The 50:50 joint venture between Daimler and Geely’s Chinese, on paper, would seem the most logical move to conquer new market shares in China, but the models currently being offered don’t seem very popular there. The horizons, perhaps, will clear up with the arrival of the new electric SUV, but it will take another year.
Finally, it is interesting to analyze the situation of Lamborghini, an emblematic case. Accounts in hand, last year, also thanks to the boom in Super SUV Management, which has expanded the customer base, the house of Sant’Agata Bolognese made record profits. Yet rumors persist about a possible sale by the Volkswagen group, according to some sources concerned about the large investments, also in terms of electrification, which it should support to accompany the Bolognese supercar brand towards the mobility of tomorrow.