Stellantis offering buyouts to about half its US salaried employees

The New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) -Chrysler-parent Stellantis said Monday it is offering 6,400 U.S. salaried employees voluntary buyouts as it works to cut costs amid the transition to electric vehicles and agreeing to a new United Auto Workers contract.

The buyouts would be about half the company's salaried U.S. employees not represented by a union, which is currently 12,700. Another 2,500 Stellantis U.S. salaried workers are unionized and are not being offered the current buyout.

Salaried employees must have at least five years of experience to be offered a voluntary departure package. Employees agreeing to take the incentive would depart before the end of December.

Stellantis said it was taking "necessary structural actions to protect our operations and the company" and cited preparations "for the transition to electric vehicles."

In April, Stellantis said it was offering voluntary exit packages to 33,500 U.S. employees. That offer covered 31,000 U.S. hourly workers and about 2,500 salaried workers. It is also offered some employees in Canada voluntary buyouts.

Stellantis Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart told employees in April a review of its operations "has made it clear that we must become more efficient."

In October 2022, Stellantis offered voluntary buyouts to its U.S. salaried employees who were aged 55 or older and had worked for the automaker at least 10 years.

Under the UAW contract, the company agreed to offer $50,000 buyouts for veteran production and skilled trade members. It will offer buyouts in 2024 and 2026.

Stellantis said on Oct. 31 it would seek to offset a significant financial hit from strikes in North America that led to big pay increases and was looking at potential cost cuts.

Stellantis CFO Natalie Knight said the six-week strikes were unexpectedly long and would cost the group in the full-year 2023 less than 750 million euros ($800 million) in terms of profitability and around 3 billion euros in terms of revenue.

Stellantis did not provide estimates on extra labor costs it will have to bear in the future, following new agreements with unions in North America.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)