Stellantis, the corporate behind Fiat, Dodge, and Jeep, has introduced that it plans to halt considered one of its vegetation and lay off 1,200 employees come February. Its reasoning? Stress from COVID-19, certain, together with a touch of chip shortages — however primarily all these electrical autos it has to make.The manufacturing unit in query is one which builds Jeep Cherokees in Illinois, and the information comes because the automaker is gearing up for union negotiations. Whereas United Auto Staff argues that “the transition to electrification additionally creates alternatives” on the plant, an unnamed Stellantis spokesperson advised CNBC and The Wall Avenue Journal that it was as an alternative the explanation for the halt. “Essentially the most impactful problem is the growing price associated to the electrification of the automotive market,” the corporate claims, including that it’s exploring different makes use of for the plant, and that it’s looking for jobs for the employees it’s shedding. Stellantis is spending billions on EVsBut let’s again up for a second — one of many world’s largest automakers is saying it has to shutter a plant indefinitely due to how a lot electrification is costing? That’s a daring declare, particularly because it’s coming from an organization I’d take into account to be in distant third within the massive three American automakers’ race to maneuver their lineups from fuel to batteries. It additionally doesn’t assist that Stellantis has been promising fairly a number of electrified Jeeps, and it’s laborious to see why this manufacturing unit couldn’t play a job in making these autos, not less than considered one of which is due out subsequent 12 months (and plenty of of which have been very tough to search out).This isn’t to say that Stellantis isn’t spending massive on EVs — it’s promised to separate an as much as $3 billion invoice with Samsung for a battery manufacturing unit in Indiana, and it’s investing $4.1 billion in an identical facility positioned in Canada, this time with LG. However that’s not an unthinkably giant funding in comparison with a few of its friends: GM is spending a whopping $7 billion on considered one of its three EV battery factories within the works, Honda’s serving to construct a $4.4 billion plant in Ohio (and spending $700 million extra to retool present services), and Ford has introduced it’s constructing three EV-related places with a price ticket of over $11.4 billion.Ford’s an fascinating comparability, although, as a result of it additionally went via a latest spherical of layoffs, chopping round 3,000 jobs. No prizes for guessing one of many excuses it gave workers; “We have now a possibility to steer this thrilling new period of related and electrical autos,” learn a memo from CEO Jim Farley and chairman Invoice Ford. “Constructing this future requires altering and reshaping just about all elements of the way in which we have now operated for greater than a century.” That, after all, meant chopping jobs.It’s too early to say whether or not EVs are going to develop into a typical scapegoat if the auto business retains finishing up layoffs, however now we have now not less than two corporations attempting to color hundreds of peoples’ livelihoods as the price of the long run. (EV-native corporations like Tesla or Rivian, which have additionally had their very own large rounds of layoffs this 12 months, don’t have that luxurious.)

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