And now this. FCA boss Marchionne is going to wring some profits from the investment in the Giulia platform known as Giorgio.
Future Maseratis, Jeeps and Dodges will use the Giorgio platform. Did they design it to be so flexible? This was reported in Automotive News: “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will offset the high costs of relaunching Alfa Romeo by sharing the brand’s Giorgio platform with Maserati, Dodge and Jeep, CEO Sergio Marchionne said.” It’s not going to be quite badge engineering yet it does point towards the Alfa-ness of Alfas and the fussiness of Maseratis being constrained by the need to make the platform compatible with cheaper cars sold as Dodges and Jeeps. This is how they explain it: “Maserati would use an upgraded version of the platform on all its models, including the next Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, GranTurismo and Alfieri sports cars and possibly for a midsize SUV to sit below the Levante, the source said.”
I have not studied the platform relations of FCA cars in detail (meaning not at all) so I can’t say what kind of chaos lurks under the shiny paint of all their cars and their market positions. Presumably they do not have tight platform management like VAG, Opel or Ford (or any?), and they have to get to something like that from where they are. That said, the announcement that FCA will use the Giorgio platform as described sounds as if it’s a afterthought or something Marchionne discovered gazing at his iPhone while having a smoking break outside the front of one of his offices.
What would be more convincing would be if the small, medium and large platform concept had been announced in 2010 and the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio were the first fruits. No, FCA have realised that they have sunk €2.5 bn into theses cars and want to do something with the data now they have the CAD files. It’s expediency.
How expedient can a car company be? The ADO16 body yielded 25 or so very similar cars in the ’60s and the Giorgio cars will not be so mechanically uniform. They will have their own sheet metal (I assume). The GM J-body gave us the quite nice 1981 Opel Ascona and a variety of more and more horrible Chevrolet, Pontiac, Olds, Buick and Cadillac derivatives. There is a chance that the Maserati QPs spun off the Giorgio platform will just not cut it in the dimensions stakes. Remember Alfa’s narrow 80s cars based on the Alfetta? Alternatively the Giorgionettes will be so different as to nullify the alleged advantage of the platform derivation.
Further, the relationship of the more costly cars may end up resembling the case of the Mondeo and the much-loved Jaguar X-type: there was not much visibly in common and the Jaguar had a raft of refinements. Only if you’d read a car magazine would you know the two cars were related. Yet the link permanently clouded the Jaguar’s image, even if the Mondeo itself was recognized as a fine car. And Alfa Romeo is to Maserati what Ford is to Jaguar.
Finally, it seems that Marchionne has managed to muddy the distinction between his brands, nudging Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari ever so slightly closer together.
At least Lancia was not mentioned. Will they get their own components?