Currently reading: Carlos Tavares refutes Stellantis brand sell-off rumours
Stellantis boss dismisses rumours firm could quit production in Italy or sell off any of its brands as “fake news”

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares has called suggestions that the car giant could end production in Italy or sell off any brands “fake news” – and he said he has rebuffed an effort by a Chinese firm to buy one of its marques.

Speaking at the launch of the new Alfa Romeo Milano, Tavares cautioned Italian authorities against offering incentives to encourage Chinese firms to set up battery or car production in the country.

Stellantis was formed in 2021 by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with the PSA Group, encompassing 14 brands. But there have been ongoing questions about the future of some of the ex-FCA brands, including Fiat and Alfa Romeo, which feature aging products and poor sales.

Tavares admitted that some executives within Stellantis suggested he should “kill” some of those brands and said in 2021 he received an offer from a western competitor to buy Alfa Romeo.

“That happened,” said Tavares, “but it took me less than one second to say: ‘Are you kidding me?’ Alfa Romeo is possibly the greatest jewel we have in our powerhouse of 14 iconic brands. Of course I said no.”

He added that he was approached by another rival last year, saying: “This time it was a Chinese company knocking at the door asking: ‘Will you sell me this brand?’ I will not say which brand, but it was a French one. I said: ‘No, of course not.’”

Tavares highlighted the recent limited-run Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale supercar as an example of the strength of Stellantis, and Alfa Romeo in particular – which, he said, represented “a benchmark of engagement” within the group.

The 33 Stradale was, Tavares said, a “brave, bold proposal that made perfect sense” but was only possible because Stellantis was well managed and profitable.

He added: “Jean-Philippe [Imparato, Alfa Romeo boss] had the stomach to come to the strategic council to promote the product, the passion to explain the way to market the product, and the brains to solve the issues that were opened.

"At Stellantis, what we call engagement is the combination of brains, hearts and stomachs, and from that point of view, the Alfa Romeo team is a benchmark of engagement inside Stellantis.”

Before attending the Milano unveiling, Tavares opened a new Stellantis plant in Italy to produce electrified dual-clutch gearboxes, highlighting it as part of a €5 billion (£4.2bn) investment the firm was making in Italy.

He added: “The unfair criticism addressed to some of our people in our company is about the fact we have fake news – yes, fake news – flying around that Stellantis would not stay in Italy, would not invest in Italy, would dismantle Fiat. My position is clear: this is fake news.”

Back to top

He said that investment would lead to the production of 15 new models and two new vehicle platforms in Italy, as well as a new battery factory. He claimed that Stellantis was taking an “unconventional” approach, with investments in the form of a circular economy hub and a battery factory.

But Tavares said this represented “a vision” that some people struggled to understand.

In a comment aimed at Italian authorities, who have reportedly held talks with firms including Tesla and BYD about incentives to set up production in Italy, Tavares added: “Those who would be dating Chinese car makers to invite them to come to Italy are on the same path as those who sold Volvo to Geely and MG to another Chinese car maker. This is not going to happen with Stellantis. This is not going to happen with Alfa Romeo.”

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

Add a comment…