Wells Fargo analysts initiated coverage on Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) with an Underweight rating and a price target of €18. The analysts at Wells Fargo expressed concerns in their note about the automotive industry’s structural challenges, which they believe are being underestimated by the market.
The report identifies several key factors that could negatively impact the industry in the coming years. These include anticipated price deterioration due to excess capacity in North America and Europe, and changing product mix as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) ramp up to meet regulatory targets. Additionally, they foresee potential headwinds from a decline in high-profit full-size pickups, which could be influenced by weakening trends in housing construction.
Despite these concerns, Stellantis, under CEO Tavares, has shown remarkable performance. The company’s adjusted EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) in 2022 exceeded €23 billion, a significant increase compared to the combined earnings of its four predecessor companies, which amounted to less than €1 billion in 2002. This success is attributed to Stellantis’ stringent cost management policies and platform consolidation.
However, Wells Fargo analysts caution that the expected industry challenges are likely to substantially impact Stellantis’ profitability in the near term. These challenges include not only the aforementioned price and mix headwinds but also broader industry shifts, such as the increasing focus on BEVs and the potential decline in pickup truck demand.