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Alfa May Let Other FCA Brands Borrow its RWD Platform

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quad, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

As the season for giving approaches, Alfa Romeo is saying it might gift its rear-drive Giorgio platform to other Fiat Chrysler vehicles.

Last week, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Alfa’s Reid Bigland not-so humble bragged to journalists that the platform is so good it would actually be difficult not to share it across brands.

“Modifying that platform to spawn additional FCA products is a possibility,” he said. “We’ve got a jewel here. In terms of driving dynamics, it’s best in class, so it’s going to be difficult to keep that exclusive for Alfa Romeo.”

Bigland has already discussed how the platform would be used for Alfa Romeo’s five year product expansion plan. Now Automotive News has him suggesting the Giorgio platform might appear under a new, unnamed, performance-oriented Dodge or Maserati.

It is also assumed to take over duties for the LX platform for the Charger sometime after 2020.

Alfa Romeo spent over $1 billion developing the platform for the Giulia sedan, and its sharp handling characteristics earned the company substantial praise from the automotive press. Giorgio will also underpin the Stelvio SUV when it launches next year, making use of the 280 horsepower inline 2.0 liter or optional 505 hp turbocharged V6. Alfa then hopes to use it in range of other vehicles, including a small hatchback to replace the aging Giulietta.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

34 Comments

  1. SCE to AUX says:

    Great, but less talk and more output from Alfa is needed. The brand has sold about 1200 cars in the US since returning in 2014.
    FCA should think long and hard about wagging the dog with an Alfa design.

  2. CoreyDL says:

    Hey, it’s best in class.**********
    *Class as determined by 2016 sales figures of Giulia versus Renault Alpine GTA.
    **Includes theoretical US sales figures.
    ***US sales figures created by assumption, European sales times US population.
    ****Assumes 1.2 Alfa Romeo sales per US household.

  3. philadlj says:

    Yeah, really. How the heck does Big McLargehuge know it’s “best in class”?
    According to GCBC, Alfa sold 7 Giulias in the US in September, and…that’s it?!

  4. CoreyDL says:

    Sort of like “The Northstar engine is so good, we can’t -help- but use it across the brand.”

  5. OldManPants says:

    Boom.

  6. bryanska says:

    Everything about that engine except the head bolts was awesome.

  7. dukeisduke says:

    A new Chrysler 200?
    /kidding!

  8. OldManPants says:

    Know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see a photo of a “platform” without any of the not-platform stuff stuck on it yet.
    Just how much of which components does “platform” connote? Is it anything like the olden days where a “chassis” was a structurally and functionally complete assembly needing only the body shell (or, nowadays, panels) attached to be a car?
    “Platform” seems to be one of the most nebulous concepts currently being tossed about as popular automotive jargon.

  9. OldManPants says:

    So why do they need a new word when “chassis” still works?

  10. indi500fan says:

    Chassis sounds like old school metallic stuff.
    Platform sounds like Silicon Valley high tech.

  11. OldManPants says:

    And Pee Wee Herman’s footwear.

  12. dukeisduke says:

    I think it also has something to do with the fact that they’re unit construction, as opposed to body-on-frame. When I hear “chassis”, I think of a frame with suspension, brakes, wheels, and tires, but no engine or transmission.

  13. Zykotec says:

    I believe in some newer cars ‘platform’ is the internal map the robots that build the car follow when assembling them. Meaning that two mostly different cars can be built at the same plant without reprogramming the whole production line. But in a lot of cases there will still be interchangeable parts between models like floor pans , inner quarters and front subframe assemblies. But I’m not an expert.

  14. dal20402 says:

    “a photo of a ‘platform’”
    Go look at a picture of a hard drive.
    A platform is really more a set of common dimensions than a tangible object. The idea is to be able to reuse both design/engineering work and non-body parts for multiple generally similar models.

  15. OldManPants says:

    Like old chassis didn’t have common dimensions? Is it just that there are now so many critical modules to fit in and each requires design software awareness and real-time adjustment that a quantum leap in complexity has been wrought so the old timey jargon just won’t do?

  16. Kyree S. Williams says:

    Well, back in the days of predominantly body-on-frame cars, the chassis and the body were separate. The platform referred more to the body, like M-body (Chrysler), C-body (General Motors) and Panther (Ford). In fact, most of the engineering work was down to the body, not the chassis, although the chassis was still a major consideration in terms of crash-worthiness.
    But models with the same “body” could absolutely have different chassis underneath. I’m reminded of the early E-body GM cars. They were all semi-unibody. But the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado had a subframe and a longitude-FWD layout; meanwhile the Buick Riviera retained a full frame…a beefed-up version of GM’s controversial cruciform-frame (X-frame), with a traditional longitude-RWD powertrain bolted to it. The full frame wasn’t really even necessary for the Riviera in terms of structure; it was mainly there to carry the powertrain.
    Or for a modern example…pickup trucks. There are different chassis on the half-ton, quarter-ton and full-ton models, even though most of the bodywork is the same.
    So, to answer your question, chassis went away because for modern unibody vehicles, the chassis is integrated into the body. A better question would be why “body” gave way to “platform”…to which I would answer that platform is simply a better term. Strictly-speaking, even classic cars didn’t usually share bodies, as the sheetmetal itself was distinct between models. They were just kind of the same shape and size. Moreover, the main structural component that modern platform-sister models share is the floorpan. Everything else is dimensions and engine-mount locations and distances between the pedal box and the dashboard. “Body” doesn’t really describe that.
    Think of a platform not as anything you can point to, but rather as a combined engineering effort and a template for parts that bolt onto and into the car, like powertrains.

  17. Corollaman says:

    I prefer the term “architecture” myself

  18. OldManPants says:

    ZOMG… beautifully cogent answer, Kyree. Thank you.

  19. GeneralMalaise says:

    You’ll baffle them with the facts, Kyree. Too many are busy impressing each other with how snarky they can be.
    Alfas have almost always been a thing of beauty, not only visually, but to the ear, as well. I say bring ’em on!

  20. sportyaccordy says:

    If this underpins the next Charger, I may cop.

  21. Big Al From 'Murica says:

    Well, cops will buy it, maybe.

  22. pgcooldad says:

    This is a secret to no one who has kept up with all of FCA’s brands. Basically, you can make a Dodge out of an Alfa but never an Alfa out of a Dodge. The market would crucify you otherwise.
    The intent to roll-out platforms from Alfa on down was there all along, that’s why I never worried about all the press on Alfa’s billion dollar platform.

  23. Magnusmaster says:

    The problem with that strategy is that the Giorgio platform is RWD, while virtually all mainstream cars are FWD.

  24. JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N says:

    Lol, so everyone gets flack for their boring, me-too FWD cookie-cutter sedans.
    Then Alfa comes along, a brand known for sporty cars with flair and style, and so they choose RWD for their (RWD) 3 series and (RWD) C-Class challenger (no pun intended). Nobody rejoices, its just ” stoopid alfuh, the Camry is fwd and it sells well so why go rwd”.
    If the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger were FWD and offered no real performance versions, I promise you they wouldn’t outsell the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima and the Chevy Impala. (The 300 outsells Taurus, not the Impala or Maxima). Another thing, people love to point out how dismal the Taurus sales are, yet its #5 and outsells the Avalon. Anyway, this whole segment is in decline, but FCA has managed to keep itself relevant by keeping RWD in a market gone FWD crazy. The only other RWD sedans you can get are high end cars.
    If Dodge launched a midsize RWD sedan, they would stand out from the Camcordltimausionlibu crowd big time. A decontented Alfa RWD car at Dodge prices? Yeah. That sounds AWFUL, they should just bring back the old FWD Avenger. That’ll get noticed (by Avis).
    The Chrysler 200’s compromised coupe profile could’ve been forgiven if it were a RWd budget 3 Series with a store-brand label/price. And, they would be using the ZF 8 speed in it, being RWD, which I understand is far better than the transverse 9 speed in the “real” 200.

  25. ajla says:

    I’m very happy with the RWD. I’m not thrilled with the engine choices though.
    The Quadrifoglio is bonkers, but at about $70K that’s some walking around money (and a higher price than most of its competition).
    I guess it’s possible the 2.0T will be the greatest turbo-4 EVER, but I’m really hoping they see fit to offer something in between the 276hp entry offering and the 505hp mega-bucks offering. A 330hp-400hp V6 (turbo or not) would do nicely.

  26. JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N says:

    I agree, and dropping the manual in the US market really dumped on my parade. I’m hoping it was something like a certification issue which can be resolved. You can’t call yourself a a sporty carmaker and offer no manual trans. Even if it sells poorly, and it will, it will symbolize their commitment to the enthusiast driver.
    I’m not 100% pro-FCA, but I do give them the benefit of the doubt here, I believe the Giulia is a good car and I hope they can make it work for Dodge.
    Imagine a decently equipped Dodge Duster (for lack of a better name): RWD midsize sedan, Pentastar V-6, 8 speed ZF. Um, yeah. I’m feeling that way more than a CVT strangled FWD Altima. It would really make a statement and become a standout.
    And the Challenger will be far more apt to contend with the more nimble Camaro and the bargain Mustang with a smaller, sophisticated platform instead of a bloated, dated, full size sedan chop-job.

  27. JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N says:

    I know. But on every article that vaguely mentions Giulia, its WHY ARE THEY WASTING MONEY ON ALFA?!?!?!? DODGE AND CHRYSLER NEED CARZ not stopping for 3 seconds to realize it is best to start at the top and work your way down. Dodge and/or Chrysler will get the cars.
    You debut an expensive platform under brands which can sell expensive cars. Then you find a way to make the fundamentals of that car work on a mainstream level, with a profit. Its trickle-down stuff that is used by automakers all the time.
    Like all that money was spent on Giulia so Alfa could sell 7 cars and call it a day. Nope, no way could the development cost be spread over several models/brands at different price ranges in global markets. Why, that’s poppycock!

  28. Corollaman says:

    It reminds me of the old POS Jaguar X car which shared a platform with Ford.

  29. The x-type didn’t deserve to be called a Jag, but it was far from a POS.
    Similarly, the XE doesn’t deserve to be called a Jag.

  30. JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N says:

    How in anyway whatsoever is this like the X-Type?
    The car started as the Ford Mondeo. It was gussied up, made AWD standard and put a Jag face on and in it.
    This is the EXACT OPPOSITE, since the premium car (Giulia) was developed FIRST, and the decontented mainstream version (Dodge/Chrysler/Fiat) is derived from that.
    They’re doing exactly the opposite as what Ford did with that particular Jag*. How you figure its the same is just another one of those things you say. Like how Toyota is too smart to enter the subcompact utility market after their entry has been widely seen and discussed since before Scion was shuttered, and had an article about it on TTCA not long before you posted that.
    *Ford did use Jaguar to pioneer aluminum body construction, which has trickled down to mainstream vehicles. Even though the X-Type sold fairly well, it was just a gussied up Mondeo with Jag styling and standard AWD.

  31. Conslaw says:

    I wonder if Robert Farago has seen the grill on this car. I think it would remind him of something.

  32. Alfa may let them borrow? I’m not sure they have a lot of choice in the matter.

  33. Rday says:

    Only people that are hopelessly needing a vehicle will shop Chrysler or Fiat. They are the bottom of the barrel and can exist only because other companies will not sell to their deadbeat customers. Why is there so much press given to these deadbeats and con artists [Sergio and crew]. Just amazes me that they can still find enough idiots to do business with them.
    I was stupid enough to buy a promaster van and since the warranty has run out there are numerous things starting to happen. Of course none of them are covered by their extended power train warranty, even though you would think the oil sending unit is part of the engine and therefore the power train. Stupid me!!!

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