By on October 26, 2009

Will they or won't they? (courtesy: alfabb.com)

Well, we’ve been here before. A while back we’d heard that an Alfa 169-branded, LX-platformed sedan would be built at Brampton for the US market, with a rumored $62k price point. That story seemed a bit iffy at the time, although it wouldn’t surprise us to hear it announced officially at Chrysler’s forthcoming five-year plan announcement. Especially now that we’re hearing more rumblings that Fiat will borrow the LX platform for European-market sedans to be built at the former Carozzeria Bertone plant in Turin. Automotive News [sub] reports a Lancia Thesis replacement and possibly even a entry-level Maserati will be built using Chrysler’s long-running RWD platform. Fiat has been looking for a RWD platform for some time, having planned on using Cadillac’s Sigma platform, and when things got nasty with GM, Fiat went sniffing around the Jag XF platform. Now Fiat has its rear-drive underpinnings, and Chrysler’s new “Pentastar” V6 to play with… but will Maserati settle for less than a V8? And will the American market actually be getting an Alfa-branded LX? TTAC will be on-hand for Chrysler’s five-year product plan announcement, and will report the definitive word on November 4th.

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27 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: LX-Platformed Lancia, Maserati Planned...”


  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    Wow, a Charger with an Alfa grille for $60,000. Just when I thought I couldn’t hosed any more.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I’ve always thought that the Charger was a good-loooking car in search of a better grill. Putting aside whatever revulsion one might feel about an Alfa-Dodge, I think that the Alfa grill really works on the Charger.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The impressive, or scary, thing about FIAT/Chrysler, versus GM, is that they actually seem to be a) trying and b) have actual plans. GM seems, moreso every day, to be simply lashing out randomly, hoping to get traction.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    To CyCarConsulting

    Yep! That’s exactly what any sane car company would do. They’re gonna put an Alfa badge on a Charger and sell it for $60k.
    Thanks for letting us in on this little conspiracy! I can’t believe Fiat would pull something like this over on the consumer! The nerve of them!
    Becasue of that comment we are all now better informed to never buy that new Alfa becasue it’s just a Charger with an Alfa grill attached to it! Whew! We were almost duped! Thank you!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I don’t see anything wrong in this.

    Chrysler has the big car platforms. Fiat needs for some of its brands that size.

    Fiat has the small car platforms. Chrysler need those cars in US and other markets.

    They complement each other.

    And if Fiat got them for free…

    The impressive, or scary, thing about FIAT/Chrysler, versus GM, is that they actually seem to be a) trying and b) have actual plans.

    I’d say impressive. But if they don’t have money/people to back up those plans…

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I can’t believe they’d do something that foolish. Here’s why.
    1. The only people in Chryslerland who care about Alfas and Lancias are car freaks … people like us who read about this stuff. And we’re kind of old if we have an inkling of interest in Alfas and Lancias.

    2. Since we’re car freaks, we’re going to know that the “New” Alfas and Lancias are really badge-engineered Chrysler products from the Daimler-Chrysler era.

    3. So we’re going to avoid the “new” Alfas and Lancias as we either a) avoided them as Chryslers or b) bought one already and have moved on to something else.

    4. That leaves Option 4, called, “Reintroducing a Dead Brand To the US Market.”

    Good luck with that. It’s probably Fiat’s only chance of saving Chrysler, as we know those platforms can pass emissions and crash tests.

    I think I’m starting to feel sorry for these people. They’ve lost touch with reality.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Let’s face facts, people. There may well be a 5 year plan, but there is no possibility it comes to fruition. Chrysler may be able to get the next gen 300 and Grand Cherokee out the door over the next 18-24 months, but there is no capability to develop anything further.

    The only hope that Chrysler has is to improve the quality of interior materials of existing platforms and to cut price to the point people will buy. Any remaining capability to develop vehicles beyond the 300 and GC should be eliminated. All costs cut to the bone, and focused only on producing existing models. Chrysler’s best move is to slowly fade into nonexistance as these models become increasingly obsolete.

    Let’s be honest. Fiat is no savior. They have always been the weakest European automaker — the #6 player in a market with room for 5 held afloat by the Italian government.

    Chrysler is the Anna Nicole Smith of automakers. She was once hot, but has become a caricature of herself strung out on drugs and narcissism. The sooner we stop paying attention, the sooner she will drop dead.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    So let’s get this straight. Fiat wants to build expensive cars on the very old LX platform. Which was the old MB E class platform from the 90s. So they want to build +$60000 cars that cost more money than a current MB E class? Who the hell is going to fall for that?

  • avatar

    Putting on a white tracksuit and helmet does not make me The Stig. Putting an Alfa Romeo badge on a Chrysler does not make it an Alfa. It makes it a steaming pile of crap. This sort of shenanigans is exactly what landed Detroit in the trouble it is in! Doing more of the same in NOT going to help.

    I want an ALFA ROMEO.

    I DO NOT want a Chrysler.

    Bring on the Spider and the Mito. Toss this rebadge idea in the dumpster where it belongs.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    seanx37 :
    October 26th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    So let’s get this straight. Fiat wants to build expensive cars on the very old LX platform. Which was the old MB E class platform from the 90s. So they want to build +$60000 cars that cost more money than a current MB E class? Who the hell is going to fall for that?

    Who’s going to fall for that? Definately the same people that buy the “new” Mercedes E-class and think that the platform is completely different from that 90s E-class.

    The LX platform is still fresh and doesn’t need much, as far as platform design is concerned, to become world-class.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The story doesn’t say anything about doing a quick re-badge of a Charger/300 into an Alfa-Romeo.

    It says that Fiat wants to use the LX-platform to make its own large car.
    _______
    Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but the Dodge Caliber, Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Mitsubishi Evolution X all live off the same platform.

    I don’t know anyone that considers the Evo to be a rebadged Caliber.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    So let’s get this straight. Fiat wants to build expensive cars on the very old LX platform. Which was the old MB E class platform from the 90s.

    This needs to stop. The LX is a Chrysler design, it shares rear suspension and transmission components with the E-Class, nothing more. It’s not a bad chassis, either, aside from the weight.

    What FIAT is proposing is using the LX/LY to underpin a premium large rear-drive car, which is reasonable since they don’t have a large passenger-car platform of their own. This also has little or no bearing on the small, front- or all-wheel drive Alfas or dedicated sports cars like the 8C Competizione.

    We might get this large car. Again, that’s ok, because the real problem with the LX/LY isn’t the chassis, it’s the Daimler-gutted content that’s stacked atop it.

  • avatar
    Flake

    SherbornSean :
    October 26th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Chrysler is the Anna Nicole Smith of automakers. She was once hot, but has become a caricature of herself strung out on drugs and narcissism. The sooner we stop paying attention, the sooner she will drop dead.

    BEST…CHRYSLER COMMENT…EVER

    I had to log in just to give Sherborn props. But seriously, everything he said is true. Fiat’s not the white knight that it’s billed as and, despite the Fiat/Alfa product love amongst car fanatics, the cars are completely wrong for the US market.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    psarhjinian

    Well said!

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Wow, the front of that thing looks like an updated GTV, only twice life size.

    Years ago, Alfa, Lancia and Saab all used the same chassis for their large cars. I owned a 164S and a 9000CD. You would never in a million years confuse them. If they want 60 large for this 30 large car, they better bring a leather filled interior with Audi level details, fit and finish. And they need to distinguish it in brakes, suspension, exhaust sound and engine. Do they have anything between a 6 and that wonderful but way too expensive for this car Ferrari 8?

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    Okaaaaay, so let me sort out the plan here.

    Take the weakest US automaker and the weakest European automaker, have them globally collude to build a premium luxury sedan to be sold under a dead (in the States) brand, a brand infamous for mechanical failure, underpinned by an ancient platform provided by a US automaker also infamous for poor build quality and engineering.

    Someone remind me again why Chrysler was given so much as a penny of our tax dollars?

    Also, sacrilege and blasphemy! I’m not exaggerating, looking at that atrocity of a car literally infuriates me. If Fiatsler wants to launch a dead-in-the-water brand, they might as well fail glamorously. Import some Breras, 159s, and a handful of 8Cs!

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    That photoshop! Have you no shame, sir? At long last, have you no shame?

    A rebadged Dodge with a Alfa grill wouldn’t sell for three reasons:

    1. Those who know and want an Alfa would be insulted and wouldn’t touch it.

    2. Those who know and want a Mopar would be insulted and wouldn’t touch it.

    3. Those who don’t know and don’t want an Alfa
    wouldn’t care and wouldn’t touch it.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    To all of you that glorify the current Alfas… they’re built on GM platforms.

    As some Fiats are.

    AFAIK, Grande Punto, MiTo and Corsa are based on the same platform.

    159 is an Epsilon…

    So… what’s exactly wrong with this? I see some product lines complementation.

    Honestly, I’d like to see the outcome of this.

    And being an auto enthusiast, I’m going to say one thing: I don’t give a shit is the Alfa 159 is a GM Epsilon. The thing looks gorgeus, and the Alfa V6 of the top of the line versions is a delight just to see.

    An Alfa 168 or 169 on a Chrysler LX/LY, with a Ferrari V8, Fiat’s group EXCELLENT gearbox gear selection and Alfa suspension tunning just would freakin ROCK.

    And I’m NOT a Fiat fan.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    That has to be the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. it makes an Edsel look like the car of the year. Chapter 7 can’t come soon enough.

  • avatar
    RNader

    “Chrysler is the Anna Nicole Smith of automakers. She was once hot, but has become a caricature of herself strung out on drugs and narcissism. The sooner we stop paying attention, the sooner she will drop dead.”

    LOL!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Slapping an Alfa badge on a Dodge with a nose job (VW Routan!) would be a mistake. Using the LX platform as a starting point upon which to build great rear wheel drive cars with a platform shared amongst multiple vehicles would be a brilliant move. VW and Honda both have shown the way to build a variety of individual vehicles off common platforms, especially VW.

    I wonder how much Daimler IP is tied up in the LX platform and if there are issues using it to build derivative products?

  • avatar
    npbheights

    While I am far from a Chrysler fan, the LX platform has always intrigued me. Seems like a decent start, fresh styling and some quality control would help. 2005 does not an old platform make, ask Ford. (panther)

    I am sure Daimler AG could give a crap about their “IP” in the LX platform. I bet they are pleased as punch to be rid of Chrysler.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    Rebranding must have been a lot easier when the cars were built on ladder frames.

    With current monocoque construction the only thing they can change without getting into serious money is the snout.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Rumor has it that the car in that picture begged to be mercy-killed, until it was told that the Alfa grille was photoshopped onto it…

    Another life saved. Thank God.

  • avatar
    djn

    As a long time Alfa owner and collector, I have no qualms about the LX platform as a basis for a new Alfa Sedan. Alfa ran the Giulia rear drive chassis from 1963 to 1995 and it was always a joy to drive inspite of a live rear-axle. BTW, the photo shopped image used a grill/badge from the 60′s.

  • avatar
    Morea

    djn : Alfa ran the Giulia rear drive chassis from 1963 to 1995 and it was always a joy to drive inspite of a live rear-axle.

    While the Giulia platform did last until 1993 in the form of the spider, Alfa introduced the Alfetta transaxle platform in 1972 which was their top of the line platform until 1995 with the SZ/RZ. These were the last of the RWD Alfas until the new 8C came out two years ago.

    psarhjinian : The LX is a Chrysler design, it shares rear suspension and transmission components with the E-Class, nothing more. It’s not a bad chassis, either, aside from the weight.

    If there is one thing that Alfisti dread about the new cars (even more than the repair bills which for them is a small price to pay for owning such a fine car) it is the excessive weight. To fans Alfa means superleggera or alleggertia. A heavy Chrysler/Mercedes platform is just not Alfa.

  • avatar
    windswords

    I am shocked at the ignorance of some who post on this site, of all places, when it comes to platform sharing, thinking that it means badge engineering. Kudos to psarhjinian and Autojunkie for setting us straight.


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