Alfa’s development looking at economies of scale and products

 Alfa Romeo

I recently explained in this article  how Alfa should focus on a “compact D” segment car to acquire former customers of 156 model. I even reiterated the necessity of Alfa of fitting rear-wheel drive for those clients who want something more.

Furthermore, the inability to satisfy both European and American market, is increasing the time to market, with redefinition of style and design solutions by Fiat-Chrysler’s CEO (large or small car, but still front-wheel drive).This situation is not good neither for Fiat nor for Alfa Romeo. In fact today they only have MiTo and Giulietta (159 is “rolling out”).

Marchionne wants also to re-make the Alfa Duetto, who can touch the sentiment of fans and drive the sales of other models. This car, together with rear-wheel drive Alfa saloon, could hardly be based on LY platform (who is based on Chrysler 300 for instance) being too big. The result could be similar to what has been done with 159 model.

For the above reasons Fiat-Chrysler should design a new platform from which they can realize immediately Maserati and Alfa “specialties”. Later, this new platform would become the base for all D and E segment’s cars (as well as their respective SUV) of each FiatChrysler’s brands. Sharing platforms and components from top to common brands (Maserati-> Alfa-> Jeep-> Chrysler → Dodge), Marchionne could have both economies of scale and appropriate Maserati’s and Alfa’s products.

Waiting for that, Fiat could use what has already been done so far by Maserati for “BiTurbo”, creating a flagship saloon for Alfa (E segment), a “transition” car, giving a strong signal with the return to rear-wheel drive, masking Chrysler’s derivation already openly criticized by users for Maserati.
This car can open the way to the first models, built on the new platform such as Duetto, Viper, but also a coupe-convertible two-seat Maserati and the heir of Brera concept (different from Brera in production), thus could cover market segment left by 4200GT and Spyder.
If those above arguments for fans are not enough, the economies of scale of this platform could persuade skeptics: one platform replacing four platforms!

Here there is a list with sales data of various models for each platform:

  • WK2: GranCherokee (71’500 91’900 in 2009 and in 2010) and Dodge Durango (45,000 in 2007 and 500 in 2010, *);
  • LY: Chrysler 300C (120,000 in 2007 and 37,000 in 2010), Challenger (36,800 in 2010) and Charger (75,000 in 2010) as well as completely revised version that will be used by Maserati “BiTurbo”;
  • Viper (400);
  • KK : Jeep Liberty (Cherokee with our sales in 2007 and 92’100 49’500 in 2010) and Dodge (74’800 22’600 in 2007 and in 2010).

The estimated volumes of this platform could conservatively be between 300,000 and 550,000 units without considering the crisis and renewal of many Chrysler and Jeep models, as well as new Alfa and Maserati sales. It should be noted, moreover, that other models could be based on this platform like Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger.

The new platform should also have something distinctive, thecnical solutions whose can differentiate themselves from the competitors and give to FiatChrysler’s cars an advantage in handling, worthy for Alfa and Maserati brands.

Taking into consideration Bmw, historic rival of Alfa, it has to be noted that German Carmaker has 6-cylinder inline engine as trademark of whole production.

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Disposizione Motore, su gentile concessione di E. Ceroni, Tutti i diritti Riservati

Alfa Romeo and Maserati, however, have V6 and V8 engines more compact and shorter than 6-cylinder Bmw. Some years ago I wrote that (opening the bonnet of Series 3 with gasoline or diesel 4 cylinder) the engine is positioned mostly behind the front wheel axis, leaving an empty space in front of the engine designed for 6 cylinder versions.
In the case Bmw had 4-cylinder and no 6 inline engines, it would be able to fit engines behind the front wheel axis in much more lower and convenient position.
This new V6 engine will allow this layout with a lower gear and position of the whole transmission line, providing with a lower center of gravity and increasead interior space.

The needs of a lower center of gravity is demostrated by the new Bmw M5 in which the engineers have strongly modified engine and gear positions to reduce the center of gravity. The results of this improvement in handling, is explaned by technical director of M-Sport in this video: engine and gear is now 20 mm lower than common 5 series.

The residual problem of this new platform is height of automatic gear avaible on the market ( see my draw of Maserati with Zf 6-speed automatic transmission). As in my 2008 Erede 159, linee guida per una vera Alfa Romeo  this aspect could be solved adopting for all Fiat-Chrysler cars (in addition to manual gearbox) a double-clutch trasmission that could be realized by FPT exploiting the high-volume production planned and the technical skills of italian engineers recently capable of designing the very high torque capacity double-clutch (much higher than Volkswagen DSG).

In addition FPT coud realize both manual and double-clucth gearboxes on the same case and on the same production line as Porsche make for the upcoming 991 with 7 gears both for manual and double clutch trasmission.
I know that FPT has already had these economies of scale for C635 gearbox.

Hopefully one day we will see on our roads a beautiful Alfa Duetto as the one presented by my friend Alessandro Masera, in addition to this also a Maserati coupe-cabriolet and even SUVs that can overcome the German rivals in terms of beauty, performance and handling.

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  1. ACS says:

    You may be able to get what you so relentlessly are trying to depict as the ideal product plan for a modern Alfa Romeo line up…
    …but DEFINITELY NOT as long as THE Brand lives within FGA/Chrysler.
    This is not a pessimistic standpoint. It is plain just the ONLY possible effect of FGA strategy.
    Alfa is on the same path of yesterday’s Lancia, within FGA. Ready for a mohogany coat…

  2. E. PERRI says:

    I just want to say … Why?

  3. Enzo Ceroni says:

    I think this is the only way to make Alfa.
    Now they’re discussing for a short Giulia or a bigger version…

  4. suspension parts manufacturer says:

    Hi, it’s a nice post, thanks for sharing.

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