By Joseph White and Aishwarya Nair
(Reuters) -Chrysler parent Stellantis NV Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares said on Thursday that more auto plant closures will happen if high prices for electric vehicles cause vehicle markets to shrink from pre-pandemic levels.
Automakers will risk losing pricing power as chip supplies recover, Tavares said at the CES technology trade show in Las Vegas.
Stellantis said last month it would indefinitely idle an assembly plant in Belvidere, Illionois, citing high costs for electric vehicles. Tavares told reporters said similar actions “will happen everywhere as long as we see high inflation of variable costs.”
The auto industry must absorb 40% higher costs for EVs, he added.
The company had flagged that increasing costs related to the electrification of the automotive market as the most impactful challenge affecting the auto industry.
“If the market shrinks we don’t need so many plants,” Tavares said. “Some unpopular decisions will have to be made.”
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and Joe White in Detroit; Editing by Rashmi Aich)