Stellantis Promotes Opportunities for Minority-Owned Businesses in EV Shift

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DETROIT — The chief operating officer of North America for SUV maker Jeep and truck maker Ram highlighted opportunities Nov. 14 for minority-owned businesses to be part of the company’s transformation toward electrification.

Stellantis NV’s Mark Stewart told the Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit that the automaker is in the midst of negotiations for its third electric vehicle battery plant that could go live in 2026. It will likely be in the United States, a- he declared. With electric vehicles accounting for 5.5% of U.S. vehicle sales so far this year, according to S&P Global Inc.’s mobility team, the growing adoption of electric vehicles presents opportunities for suppliers and other trading partners and is a chance for the industry to be more representative of the communities it serves.

“Now is the time,” Stewart said at the MotorCity Casino Hotel at the conference organized by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and focused on human and civil rights. “Look at Tesla. How many EVs are actually sold? We just saw the stat. There aren’t many on the market. Now is the time to join us.

Stellantis has yet to launch an all-electric vehicle in North America. But it projects that more than half of its sales on the continent will be BEVs by 2030. It is investing $35.5 billion in electrification and software by 2025.

Efforts are also focused on building supply chains for critical materials and components for electric vehicles and their batteries in U.S. trade-friendly partners. Currently, many of these networks are based in China. Stellantis has signed agreements to obtain minerals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt from companies in California, Australia and Germany.

“We don’t have that many here in the United States,” Stewart said of critical mineral resources. “And our friends in northern Canada are very rich in resources, in a lot of the chemistry that goes with it. Mexico too, with lithium and a few others. So we have dedicated teams and procurement who make sure we secure that capability for our needs. And if things are progressing the way we see, that’s why we need this third factory in line in 26.”

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Added to the challenges of transformation is the need for talent. The summit also recognized Stellantis and the Wayne County Community College District with its benchmark award for a $27 million mechatronics program that will train students in robotics and other skills needed in industry.

“We can meet the needs of higher education and workforce development, skills development across all of these supply chain industries,” said CharMaine Hines on behalf of WCCD Chancellor Curtis. Ivery. “We are taking the city and our communities where they need to go.”

The lab on the college’s east campus in Detroit is set to open as early as this month with the program launching in January following pandemic-related delays. Stellantis’ contribution was part of its community benefits agreement with the city of Detroit and residents for its $2.5 billion investment in its Detroit Assembly Complex.

“It’s another great way to nurture the community,” Stewart said, “for the next generation to have people who are going to have great jobs in our industry that we fight so hard to get kids into our industry. , but for us to do it and do it here.

One of the two factories that make up the complex has hired 3,500 Detroit residents, Stewart said. In total, the company has hired 8,800 Detroit residents at its factories in southeastern Michigan.

Rainbow PUSH, however, showed with its annual diversity scorecard that Stellantis has some work to do in advertising and marketing. This gave the automaker a “yellow” rating in these two of the six assessment areas, indicating evidence of ethnic diversity.

Stewart said Stellantis does not have its own ad agency, but does offer marketing work.

Mark Stewart, COO of Stellantis

Mark Stewart, COO of Stellantis

“What’s great is that it gives a lot of people the opportunity to come and work with us,” he said, but added that the company’s marketing team “went out, and we help grow black-owned marketing agencies, and we’ve had some really good wins this year and some amazing creatives that have come out of it.

He said the company has engaged in multicultural marketing, with African Americans making up a growing share of the market. He said the company has teamed up with Byron Allen, the former stand-up comedian turned media mogul, who has publicly demanded companies like GM do more business with black-owned media companies , and several other agencies as well as recent film school graduates.

The company received a “green” score in the other areas of employment, procurement, dealer development and philanthropy, indicating a demonstration of best practice in ethnic diversity.

Stewart said Stellantis has done $100 billion in business with minority-owned vendors over the past four years. Within the company itself, more than 35% of its workforce is diverse, as well as more than 20% of its leadership team.

“We’re making sure our pipeline is absolutely full of diversity vendors and especially African Americans,” he said, “because we’re absolutely on the fast track to get to where we are.” same as in every community we live in.”

The 2022 dashboard was the first time no major automaker had a red mark, meaning diversity initiatives and investments are either non-existent, undisclosed, or lack sufficient relevant information for scoring.

General Motors Co.’s only yellow mark was in the job. Ford Motor Co. came into employment and marketing.

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