Stellantis, the new brand formed after the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, is on the verge of transforming itself into a technology and mobility company. And the message is coming through loud and clear. Carlos Tavares, CEO of the company, opened his 2022 CES press conference by saying, “We are reimagining the future of mobility for generations to come as we quickly shift to a tech company, providing our customers with safe, sustainable and affordable mobility solutions.”
While the transformation will take years, the company has already started outlining its plan. Stellantis’ global chief technology officer, Ned Curic, told MotorTrend in an interview the work starts by simplifying. Currently, the big automaker has many different platforms it supports, and focusing on a couple will help lead this new transformation.
“If you look at traditional tech companies, or new technology companies, they don’t have many platforms—maybe one, two, or three—but then there’s software to differentiate,” he said. “What we have to do is to simplify our technology dramatically.”
Simplifying the hardware and using the software to differentiate its components will be the starting point in the transformation. Along with creating an immersive cabin experience, Stellantis plans to gain customer satisfaction as it starts to roll out the new technology.
Partnering with the right people to help a transformation is key in any industry, but particularly in the automotive sector. Stellantis announced a partnership with tech giant Amazon to use its software to bring over the air updates and use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud-based technology in Stellantis’ future vehicles. Curic, who was vice president of Alexa Automotive at Amazon before moving to Stellantis, said both companies have a similar culture, where the customer comes first.
“My focus is on the simplification and software and Amazon knows really well how to do that, so we learn from them, they learn from us and it’s a good marriage,” he said. “We learn from them on the software side of the vehicle, because that’s where they do exceptionally well.”
While it’s still unclear what kind of product the customer will be seeing from Amazon in Stellantis’ cars, Curic said the Uconnect infotainment system will probably evolve into something else, but customers can expect a more diverse experience. One change where Stellantis will focus on is reducing the digital noise in the cabin, meaning smaller cars will not see screens all over the place.
“We’re trying to be digitally quiet but precise in what customers want to do and remove friction. If you want to subscribe to an application in the vehicle, you should be able to acknowledge it with one tap or voice controls,” Curic said.
The Chrysler brand will see a turnaround in the next few years as it enters a new era to become Stellantis’ first technology brand, but that will quickly replicate to the rest of the group. The new cabin experience with Amazon, dubbed STLA SmartCockpit, will arrive in 2024, and will bring artificial intelligence and cloud solutions to the interior.
Transforming into a technology mobility company will not be an easy task, but a future roadmap of the products that it will use in the next eight years will be presented by Tavares on March 1, when the company will announce its plan for 2030.