India major centre of gravity for Stellantis: Co official

New Delhi, Aug 6: India has become a major ‘centre of gravity’ for global automotive major Stellantis as it expands internationally, especially with digital and software hubs in the country supporting the organisation’s technological future, according to a senior company official.
Stellantis, which came into existence after the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group in 2021, currently sells its Jeep and Citroen brands in the country. It has three manufacturing plants, two R&D centres and two ICT hubs in India.
“We have got 4,000 employees in the region (India and the Asia Pacific), and the vast majority of those employees are right here in India. We’re creating jobs here, two R&D centres and two IT centres. It’s not only creating for India, but it’s also creating for the world,” Stellantis, India and Asia Pacific (IAP) Region, Head of Sales, Marketing and Regional Operations, Billy Hayes told PTI.
The validation for the vehicles sold outside of India is done here, given the talent exists here, he added.
“India has become a major centre of gravity as we expand globally. We started with North America and Europe as our centre of gravity. This region is our centre of gravity, and we’re steaming ahead aggressively by expansion plans on both product and manufacturing,” Hayes said.
He said Stellantis has two digital hubs for IT and software development in Hyderabad and Bangalore and two R&D centres in Chennai and Pune, which are “not just India for India. This is India for India and India for the world”.
“The digital and software hubs in India support the technological future of the organisation. Stellantis operates the global digital hub to help accelerate the group’s digital transformation initiatives and build deep technical expertise right here in India,” Hayes said, adding the country serves as the transformation and innovation hub for Stellantis as a whole.
India also drives the group’s global IP strategy, and since its set up, the India centre has grown to one of the largest in-house ICT and digital organisations within the Stellantis group, Hayes said.
“In addition, our software centre in Bangalore, which was just inaugurated in October 2022, serves as the primary development centre for one of the key three technology platforms that are key to the company’s digital transformation,” he added.
Stellantis’ centre in Bangalore plays a critical role in the development of AI and ADAS technologies, what the company calls STLA AutoDrive, which is behind autonomous driving and artificial intelligence in its cars, Hayes noted.
On the manufacturing front also, he said the group has been exporting vehicles and powertrains for several markets from its facilities in India.
Recently, Citroen started exports of the made-in-India compact car C3 to countries in ASEAN and Africa as CBUs, Hayes said, adding “We are continuing to look at opportunities to export vehicles outside of India”.
Vehicles under the Jeep brand are also exported from India to several countries, including Japan and Australia, he added.
Hayes also said the company’s Hosur plant has become a benchmark powertrain plant in the entire group in terms of value and capacity since March 2022, and the plant is a “one-stop solution for our manual transmission requirements across the globe”.
On auto components sourcing, he said the group has around 40 parts suppliers, which are exporting from India to Latin America “to help get competitive prices by leveraging our total volumes”. (PTI)