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