Truck Makers Recruit Their Own Employees to Combat Driver Shortage

A vehicle transporter leaves a Stellantis NV factory
A vehicle transporter leaves the Stellantis NV factory in Cassino, Italy. (Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg News)

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Stellantis NV and Renault SA are turning to their own ranks to tackle a shortage of truck drivers that’s leaving thousands of vehicles stranded away from dealerships and customers.

Stellantis, the maker of Fiat and Peugeot cars, sent off emails and placed posters in some of its factories in a drive to convince workers to fill in behind the wheel. About 140 staff, mainly from France, Spain and Italy, have already signed up, the company said March 2.

Meanwhile, rival Renault is starting on a process to get some employees trained by staffing company Adecco Group so that they can obtain truck driver licenses, according to a spokeswoman.

Stellantis is paying for training and the fees needed to obtain truck driver licenses and facilitate the voluntary job switch. Amsterdam-based Stellantis also is considering buying its own trucks to deal with the logistics snags, though no final decision has been made, another spokesman said.

Truck driver shortages left thousands of cars stuck at Stellantis’s Sochaux plant in eastern France late last year, forcing the company to park many of them on an abandoned airfield several kilometers away from the factory. Volkswagen AG has been hit by similar problems, leaving Europe’s biggest carmaker unable to ship finished vehicles to buyers. Renault, which makes Zoe and Megane E-Tech cars, also flagged outbound logistics problems when it reported full-year results in February.

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Many of Europe’s truck drivers come from Ukraine and have become unavailable since the start of the war, deepening logistics troubles that started with the COVID-19 pandemic and continued with semiconductor shortages that slowed production.

The Stellantis job switches can be temporary or permanent, the spokesman said, adding that workers who may eventually want to return to their factory jobs will be reintegrated.

Stellantis also struggled with logistics as it sought to combine operations following its merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group at a time of significant stress in global logistics operations, Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said in February.

Stellantis is testing other creative ways to get cars to its customers. Dealers, for example, are allowed to come and pick up the vehicles themselves.

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