When all else fails, blame the government. Stellantis, whose brands include Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat, recently announced layoffs that it blamed on the selective application of California Air Resource Board (CARB) rules. The move could impact thousands of jobs at the company’s Jeep factories in Detroit and Ohio, where it builds the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, and Gladiator.
The announcement comes after a long drama between the automaker and the state of California. The company decided to limit allocations of its electrified vehicles to states complying with CARB regulations, which meant that non-CARB states got few if any, hybrids from the automaker. Stellantis’ issue is that the state worked with BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen in 2020 to agree to a different playbook.
That agreement judges emissions compliance across all 50 states, not just those complying with CARB standards. Stellantis believes its absence from that agreement puts it at a significant disadvantage, but it didn’t get left out unknowingly. The automaker applied to join the group but was denied over what it said was retaliation for criticizing CARB’s authority to create emissions rules. Stellantis has filed a complaint with the state over what it called an “underground regulatory scheme.”
We can debate whether or not California overstepped, but it doesn’t change the fact that Stellantis has been slower to move on EVs than other automakers despite the success of Jeep’s 4xe vehicles. The layoffs could also just as easily be related to losses from the recent UAW strikes, as other automakers – some included in the CARB agreement – have announced layoffs.
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