Stellantis — the gigantic international automotive conglomerate that owns everything from Jeep to Ram to Alfa Romeo and Opel — has canceled its plans for CES 2024, we are told via a short press release. The company blames the current United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes, which today expanded to include 6,800 workers at the factory that makes Ram 1500 trucks, which is the largest Stellantis factory in the United States. Stellantis has “the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more,” the UAW said in a statement to Axios.
“As the costs of the ongoing UAW strikes against Stellantis continue to mount, the Company has decided to cancel its planned display and presentations at CES 2024,” Stellantis says in its press release, saying that it “is executing comprehensive countermeasures to mitigate financial impacts and preserve capital.”
CES booths and travel expenses for the army of people to staff them for a week in Las Vegas can certainly run into the millions of dollars, but it’s unclear if that will make up for the loss from stopped production — or if Stellantis just found an opportunistic reason to avoid CES, which has mostly devolved into a calorie-free festival of vaporware and buzzwords.
Don’t worry, though, the same press release promises (threatens?) that Stellantis “will continue to demonstrate its transformation into a mobility tech company through other means.” We will remind you that Stellantis has chosen to run a forked version of Android for its infotainment stack and has announced things like a drone that launches out of a Jeep Wrangler and an EV Dodge Charger with an “exhaust system” that is just speakers playing exhaust sounds.
On second thought, this company was a perfect fit for CES.
The UAW strikes are historic even in the complex labor history of the American automotive industry — workers at all three of the major US carmakers are on strike over fundamental issues like compensation and benefits as well as challenges novel to the EV transition, like battery manufacturing and whether new EV factories will be covered by existing labor contracts. We’ve reached out to Ford and GM to see if their CES plans remain intact.