Stellantis offers buyouts to roughly half of U.S. salaried workers

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, poses during a presentation at the New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York, on April 5, 2023.

David Dee Delgado | Reuters

DETROIT — Chrysler parent Stellantis is offering buyouts to roughly half of its U.S. white-collar employees to reduce headcount and cut costs for the automaker’s North American operations.

The voluntary separation packages will be offered to 6,400 of its 12,700 nonbargaining unit U.S. employees with five or more years of employment, the company said Monday.

The move marks the latest cost-cutting efforts for the U.S. auto industry, as companies attempt to reduce costs amid economic concerns and billions of dollars in new investments for emerging technologies such as electric vehicles. Both General Motors and Ford Motor also have cut salaried workers over the past year.

“As the U.S. automotive industry continues to face challenging market conditions, Stellantis is taking the necessary structural actions to protect our operations and the Company,” Stellantis said in an emailed statement. “As we prepare for the transition to electric vehicles, Stellantis announced today that it will offer a voluntary separation package to assist those non-represented employees who would like to separate or retire from the Company to pursue other interests with a favorable package of benefits.”

A Stellantis spokeswoman declined to comment on how many people or total costs the company would like to cut. She also declined to comment on whether involuntary layoffs are planned if not enough employees accept the buyouts.

Stellantis North American Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart informed employees Monday of the program, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Employees will have until Dec. 8 to accept buyout offers, the company said.

This marks the second round of salaried buyouts this year for Stellantis. In April, the company extended voluntary buyouts to about 33,500 U.S. employees, including 31,000 hourly employees with at least one year of employment and 2,500 salaried, nonunion employees who had 15 or more years with the company.

The latest buyouts come weeks after the automaker struck a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers union for new labor contracts covering its 43,000 unionized workers.

The tentative agreement between Stellantis and the UAW, which must still be ratified by union members, also includes voluntary buyouts.

The UAW has said the voluntary incentive plan for retirement will be for $50,000 pretax for an unlimited number of eligible production and skilled-trade members in 2024 and again in 2026.

The Stellantis spokeswoman said the salaried buyout offers are not directly connected to expected increases in U.S. labor costs as a result of the deal with the UAW.

The tentative union agreement includes 25% wage increases, including 11% upon ratification; reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments; additional contributions for retirees; billions in new investments; and other benefits.

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