Cost-cutting efforts and strong vehicle pricing fueled the maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups to a $15.1 billion net profit in 2021.
The results sum up Stellantis’ first year of existence after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French rival Groupe PSA closed their trans-Atlantic merger in January 2021. The profits were a 179% increase year-over-year from its predecessors’ combined 2020 results as the industry recovered from pandemic-induced shutdowns but battled supply-chain snags.
With an 11.8% adjusted operating income margin, Stellantis beat its increased full-year guidance of 10%. That’s despite a global semiconductor shortage, increasing raw material prices and other supply snarls felt throughout the year that sent some plants down for months and limited dealership inventories, increasing vehicle prices. The automaker is expecting double-digit margin results in 2022, as well.
“Today’s record results prove that Stellantis is well positioned to deliver strong performance, even in the most uncertain market environments,” CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. “Together, we are focused on executing our plans as we race to become a sustainable mobility tech company.”
Net revenues for 2021 totaled $172.2 billion, up 14%, despite losing 20% of planned production because of unfilled semiconductor orders. Adjusted operating income was up 95% to $20.4 billion.
The automaker is pursuing a $3.7 billion ordinary dividend to shareholders, pending their approval. Union workers in the United States will see profit-sharing checks of up to $14,670.
Stellantis’ adjusted operating income in North America rose 85% to $12.9 billion in 2021 from selling more large SUVs and pickups, and higher pricing.
North America dealer inventory decreased by 186,000 units in 2021, sending average transaction prices in the United States up roughly 20% to around $47,000. There are signs of recovery, though: Inventory in December was down 59% year-over-year to 791,000 vehicles, but that was up almost 100,000 vehicles from September.
North America achieved a second-half adjusting operating income margin of 16.4%. Stellantis last year launched 10 new vehicles, including in North America the three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L SUV and the next generation of the two-row Grand Cherokee at its new assembly plant in Detroit. It also began delivering the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs from Warren, Michigan, and its first plug-in hybrid Jeep in North America with the Wrangler 4xe.
On Tuesday, the automaker will share its long-term strategy plans, including elaborating on turnaround efforts in the world’s largest auto market, China, where Stellantis sells few cars. Reforms, however, already have taken a rocky start with one of its joint venture partners.
Stellantis also announced a series of partnerships and a commitment to invest $35.5 billion in electrification and software by 2025 in its efforts to transform itself into a mobility technology company. Free2move, its e-mobility services brand, will launch a network in North America in the second half of 2022.
Stellantis’ results were mixed compared to its Detroit rivals. It beat General Motors, which made $10 billion in profit on revenue of $127 billion and surpassed its forecast. Ford posted a net income of $17.9 billion on $136.3 billion in revenue in 2021, which missed Wall Street expectations.