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Stellantis axes combustion MPVs for UK-built EV variants

3 mins read

7 January 2022

Stellantis has removed all combustion versions of its small van-based MPVs from sale in most of Europe in an effort to speed up the group’s move to all-electric power.

The decision to continue with only electric versions of these vehicles was announced in separate statements by Citroën, Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall – which sell the technically idential Berlingo, Partner and Combo MPVs respectively.

The move is a significant development for the UK automotive industry, as Stellantis is investing £100 million in the old Vauxhall Astra factory at Ellesmere Port to produce the electric versions of these MPVs (as well as the van variants), creating 1000 new jobs. Production is expected to get under way later this year.

The group’s mid-sized MPVs – the Citroën SpaceTourer, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Vivaro Life – will also go all-electric in the designated markets.

This has significant implications for the cost of these models. Prices for the all-electric Citroën ë-Berlingo, for example, start at £29,575, whereas the now-unavailable combustion version could be bought for £22,135. Autocar understands that Citroën will alter its prices to help account for the disparity. The Berlingo’s Peugeot and Vauxhall siblings are similarly affected.

Business customers outside the EU and those in Switzerland and the Balkans will still be able to buy combustion-powered models, Stellantis said, and Fiat, which sells its own variants of the small and mid-sized MPVs, has not issued a statement on the matter. Citroën told Autocar that converter partners – who configure the Berlingo and SpaceTourer for disabled users – will still be able to order the combustion versions.

“There is no alternative to electrification. In the future, Opel will gain even more traction with environmentally friendly innovations,” said Uwe Hochgeschurtz, CEO of Vauxhall’s sibling brand Opel.

“From 2024, we will offer an electrified version of every Opel model, without exception,” he said. “In other words, the successors to Crossland and Insignia will also be electrified. Our statement is clear: from 2028, we will exclusively sell battery-electric vehicles in Europe.”

Citroën described the decision as a “bold move” for “the benefit of customers and the environment”. The Berlingo was the UK’s best-selling compact van in 2021, registering over 12,000 units.

“This decision is the result of a responsible approach on the part of an activist brand that asserts its commitment to the energy transition and wishes to provide its customers with a solution for the future,” Citroën said.

Peugeot is also pushing hard for the shift to electric models. All of its commercial vehicle line-up is offered with an electrified powertrain and 75% of its passenger car range is available as an EV.

“In 2021, every sixth vehicle sold by Peugeot in Europe was electrified and in November this reached one electrified Peugeot vehicle out of every five sold,” said Linda Jackson, Peugeot CEO.

“This shows that we at Peugeot have the right offer for our customers and that the demand for electrified vehicles is consistently fast-growing,” Jackson said.

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