Jeep pulls out of China over government meddling in its business
Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares said Stelantis NV closed its only Jeep factory in China as local politicians increasingly interfere in business in the world's largest car market.
The CEO said in an interview with Bloomberg television that the carmaker is implementing an "asset-light" strategy in the country.
“We are seeing more and more political interference in the business world in China over the past few years,” Tavares said.
"We don't want to become a victim of cross-bans as has been the case with other companies in other regions of the world recently."
The CEO's candid comments provide an explanation for Stelantis' announcement last week it was leaving a 12-year manufacturing partnership with state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group.
Tavares acknowledged that the Jeep joint venture was making losses, but asked the company to deepen its reasons.
Tavares said, while Stelantis had signed an agreement to increase its stake in the venture, its local partner GAC "did not do what it should have done."
The exit raises uncomfortable questions about what the future might hold for foreign manufacturers in China.