Stellantis (STLA 0.88%), the automotive giant formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA, the parent company of Peugeot, reported that its revenue and total vehicle shipments grew in the first quarter of 2021 despite the impact of an ongoing global shortage of semiconductors.

The company said it expects the chip shortage to worsen in the current quarter before easing somewhat in the second half of 2021.

A note about Stellantis' quarterly report

We should note up front that this wasn't a typical "earnings" report. Like some other European companies, Stellantis plans to report its earnings and profits semiannually, rather than quarterly.

But because it has many U.S. investors, the company provided a detailed update on its revenue and business results, with "pro forma" year-ago figures for comparison. ("Pro forma" figures are close approximations of the results that would have been reported had FCA and PSA been merged all along. They're intended to help auto investors understand how the company is performing, and to provide a basis for comparison as we go forward.)

Long story short: Stellantis didn't tell us what its profits and margins were in the first quarter. But it shared quite a bit of other information, and I've included the highlights below. Note that all of the numbers I've included here are pro forma, as provided by Stellantis, unless otherwise noted.

A 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, an off-road SUV, descending a rocky hill.

U.S. sales of the Jeep Wrangler jumped 25% in the first quarter, likely giving Stellantis' first-half profit margin a boost. Image source: Stellantis.

Highlights of Stellantis' first-quarter report

  • Stellantis' global shipments, including results from its joint ventures with Chinese automakers, rose 12% from a year ago (when many auto plants were shut down amid the initial COVID-19 outbreak) to 1.62 million. 
  • Revenue increased 14% from the first quarter of 2020 to 37 billion euros for similar reasons.
  • While Stellantis didn't share its profits and margins, it did note that its pricing and product "mix" both improved year over year. But those gains were somewhat offset by unfavorable exchange-rate movements, it said.
  • Vehicle shipments fell 4% in North America, in part because of production disruptions related to the chip shortage. Another factor: The end of production of the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and Dodge Journey crossover as the factory transitioned to production of the all-new Chrysler Voyager led to tighter inventories at dealers.
  • Shipments in Europe were up 11% from a year ago on good demand for new Peugeot and Citroen models, as well as an all-new version of the popular Opel Mokka crossover SUV. 
  • Shipments in the Middle East and Africa grew 32%, and shipments in China, India, and Asia-Pacific rose 45%, thanks to several new models. (The regions also benefited from not having COVID-19-related factory shutdowns, as they did in the first quarter of 2020.)
  • Shipments at Maserati, which continues to report its global results separately, grew 74% after the launch of several new models (and again, on the non-repeat of last year's COVID-19 woes, particularly in China). 

One more thing: Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said that Stellantis is ending its deal to buy European emissions credits from Tesla (TSLA 0.38%), as it now expects to sell enough zero-emission vehicles to meet regulatory standards on its own. The move will save the company about 300 million euros ($360 million) per year, roughly two-thirds of which would have gone to Tesla, Palmer said. 

Looking ahead: Stellantis' guidance for 2021

Stellantis said that the chip shortage cost it about 11% of its planned production in the first quarter, or roughly 190,000 vehicles. As I mentioned above, it expects the second quarter to be somewhat worse, and the second half of 2021 to be somewhat better, than the first quarter on the chip-supply front. 

The company reiterated its full-year margin guidance: It still expects its operating margin (excluding the effects of one-time items) to come in between 5.5% and 7.5%, assuming no new significant COVID-19-related lockdowns in its key markets. 

Finally, Stellantis said that it will present more details around its electric-vehicle plans at an "Electrification Day" on July 8, and it will report its full first-half financial results on Aug. 3.

A white and black 2021 Opel Mokka, a compact crossover SUV sold in Europe and Asia.

An all-new version of the popular Opel Mokka crossover helped Stellantis' results in several key global markets. Image source: Stellantis.

The raw numbers

Here are the key pro forma figures provided by Stellantis in its first-quarter report. Note that all financial figures are in euros. As of May 5, 1 euro = about $1.20.

Metric Q1 2021 Pro Forma Change vs. Q1 2020 Pro Forma
Combined shipments  1,618,000 12%
Consolidated shipments (excluding joint ventures) 1,567,000 11%
Net revenue 37.0 billion 14%
Vehicles in inventory at quarter-end 1,234,000 (32.9%)

Data source: Stellantis. Shipments and vehicles in inventory are rounded to the nearest thousand.