Platform Watch: With Merger Pact, Fiat Chrysler Looks Forward to PSA Underpinnings

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

In the binding merger agreement signed Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group claim platform and technology sharing will account for 40 percent of the combined entity’s annual cost savings.

While the agreement made passing mention of two pieces of PSA architecture — platforms that will one day make up a full two-thirds of the merged company’s volume — nothing more was said of that particular plan. Still, it’s something worth talking about.

According to industry sources who spoke to Automotive News Europe, the two wonder platforms are PSA’s CMP and EMP2 architecture, which form the basis of most of the automaker’s small-to-midsize lineup, underpinning a range of hatchbacks, sedans, and crossovers from the Citroen and Peugeot brands.

Obviously, it will take a while for FCA to adopt its partner’s platforms; that two-thirds figure won’t come to fruition for years. While PSA made quick use of its new small and midsize platforms after taking Opel and Vauxhall off GM’s hands, existing FCA models will have to run their course.

The most obvious application for the French automaker’s architecture is in the Fiat stable, which is still a big player in the European market. Given that it’s a low-priced brand, this is an area where FCA would like to save on development costs. While the next-generation 500 city car (a segment FCA seems fairly uninterested in) is already on the way, future Fiats with larger footprints could swap to the PSA platform, no problem.

Fiat’s small car platforms also underpin a number of Jeep models, so expect a switchover for future generations of Compass, Cherokee, and Renegade. Overseas, Jeep plans to introduce an “ultra compact utility vehicle” for 2022; this model could make use of a PSA platform, if development isn’t too far advanced.

The struggling Alfa Romeo brand, relegated to back-burner status in a recent revision of FCA’s five-year product plan, stands to gain from the French, too. While nothing is confirmed, the small SUV slated to appear in late 2022 could don a PSA platform.

PSA is a good dance partner for FCA, as its architectures were designed to accommodate a range of propulsion types — from ICE-only to hybrid and plug-in hybrid, and even fully electric. An electrification plan is already underway at Jeep, Alfa, and Maserati.

Elsewhere in the American lineup, existing architecture is the only path forward. At least for the foreseeable future, that is, until joint platforms rear their heads. Ram’s truck line isn’t about to borrow anything from PSA’s current parts bin, nor are the rear-drive, LX-platform Dodges or the BOF Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. Same goes for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and its upcoming three-row stablemate, as well as the incoming BOF Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

[Image: Chris Tonn/TTAC, Fiat Chrysler]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.
  • Amwhalbi I agree, Ajla. This is theory, not reality - hence my comment that Americans don't like hatchbacks. But one of my neighbors bought one of the last Regal hatchbacks that were available for sae, and it is a darn nice car. I still think the idea makes sense, even if history is proving me wrong. And my sister does have a Legacy, which rides a bit higher than my Sonata, and that also is an excellent driver. Even if the general public doesn't concur with me.
  • Hermaphroditolog The tycoons and Nazis hid the IMPLOSION ICEs and propagated the compression ICEs to consumers.GEET engines are more IMPLOSION than compression. Also the ICEs of the Shell-ecomarathon. Classic hot-bulb ICEs are more IMPLOSION than compression - Ford assembly lines do not accept to produce tractors with these simple ICEs.