By on August 28, 2020

PSA

Hopefully you’re all familiar with Stellantis — the chosen name for the sprawling automaker birthed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group. With the merger expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2021, Stellantis is all about capitalizing on the respective partners’ strengths in the name of efficiency.

And, because of this strategy, FCA has reportedly issued a stop-work order on any development of future small or subcompact cars. The future of FCA small cars is now French.

According to Automotive News, a late-July letter to FCA suppliers stated that all of its future small cars will drop Fiat underpinnings in favor of platforms found beneath Peugeots and the newly French-owned Opel and Vauxhall brands. This comes after March’s order to suspend the development of five vehicles (grouped under the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Jeep brands) as a consequence of the ongoing pandemic.

Instead of updated Fiat architecture, the future FCA brand small cars will carry a platform utilized by the likes of the Peugeot 208. PSA’s Common Modular Platform (CMP) also sets up shop in the Opel Corsa and DS3 Crossback, among others. Fitting for Europe, CMP, which offers two track widths and three wheelbases, allows the automaker to field gasoline- and electric-driven examples of the same cars.

From Automotive News:

In its note to suppliers, FCA said it will build CMP-based small cars in its plant in Tychy, Poland. The factory currently makes the Fiat 500 and Lancia Ypsilon. Italian press reports suggest FCA will build up to 400,000 units a year of CMP-based models in Tychy.

Clearly, this news doesn’t impact the American automotive landscape all that much. On this side of the Atlantic, small FCA cars barely exist, found only in the nearly dead Fiat brand. The Jeep Renegade continues on its Fiat underpinnings, though any future generation would likely swap to PSA architecture.

[Image: PSA Group]

 

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36 Comments on “Farewell, Fiat: Stellantis Will Tap France for Small Car Platforms...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    *Palpatine Voice* Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

    Just a few more years until I can buy a Chrysler Insignia GTC.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      From your lips to God’s ears. I think this is an excellent call by FCA and PSA. I’m actually pretty optimistic about the Stellantis combination. This is the first time in a long time that I have had any long-term hope for the Chrysler brand. I hope GM is left wondering about what might have been.

  • avatar
    karonetwentyc

    It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Peugeot will now be making its second stab at selling cars in North America, and, with the exception of the 204 (available in this part of the world in truly minute numbers between about 1967 and 1969), has never officially sold a small car in North America.

    Hopefully they’ve learned from their past mistakes; it looks as though their model range might be starting to include some interesting cars again.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      I think the key will be swallowing their pride and not trying so hard to “Make fetch happen” the way Fiat did. The way forward is to collaborate with FCA on the platforms and sell here under established brands, not dumping billions into a brand with nearly zero pent up demand or history here.

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        Nah.

        The reason Fiats didn’t sell wasn’t a marketing problem. It was, simply, that they were selling unreliable and bad quality products nobody really wanted.

        If you slapped a Dodge badge on a 500 and called it a Neon, it still wouldn’t sell. Heck, I suspect they managed to get more suckers by pretending it was a cool european brand.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “If you slapped a Dodge badge on a 500 and called it a Neon, it still wouldn’t sell. ”

          I disagree. They did this with the Renegade and 500x. The Jeep sells over 10x the volume.

          Selling a new “car” in the current environment is a waste of time but any future vans and CUVs shared with PSA would do better under Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep in North America versus trying to make “Citroen of Cedar Rapids” happen.

        • 0 avatar
          karonetwentyc

          “The reason Fiats didn’t sell wasn’t a marketing problem. It was, simply, that they were selling unreliable and bad quality products nobody really wanted.”

          I can’t comment on the reliability part since I haven’t owned an FCA-era Fiat, so have no direct experience with them. Having said that, the three people I know who bought 500s (a 500e, an Abarth, and something from the ‘regular’ range – a Sport, I think) have all been very happy with their cars and still have them an average of 5 years later. The one Dodge Dart owner I know made me glad that I bought a Jetta TDi instead of the Dart, and unloaded that car As Soon As Paid Off.

          Part of the problem Fiat had (initially) was attempting to sell people on the idea that all you need is the same 1.4-litre motor powering at least one model across the entire range. That doesn’t work, even in Italy.

          The

          In a way, this reminds me of AMC’s tie-up with Renault: the Alliance and Encore were basically good cars that garnered generally-positive reviews, but that were built considerably worse in Kenosha than on the other side of the Atlantic. Granted, they still sold around 650,000 of them by the time time Chrysler bought AMC out four years later in 1988 (and axed both models almost immediately). While Fiat may not have had the domestic production part of the equation, it still baffles me how they could not understand what is expected in terms of longevity and reliability.

          PSA (or Stellantis, or whatever it’s called rhis week) is walking into a situation not completely unlike the one that Chrysler found itself in when it acquired AMC. Like I said before, it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “The way forward is to collaborate with FCA on the platforms and sell here under established brands, not dumping billions into a brand with nearly zero pent up demand or history here.”

        Agreed. Peugeot has zero chance of relaunching in the US market. But they’ve come a long way since they left the US, and using their designs instead of Fiat’s is a good call.

        As ToolGuy said below, I’m impressed they decided this so quickly. It seems to spell doom for Fiat.

        Another question, though, is how Stellanis expects to sell small cars in the US market at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I expect they won’t try to sell small cars in the US. There is zero reason to do so.

          I do expect them to relaunch the Peugeot brand in the US, there have been rumors that they were going to attempt it soon and I doubt that will change. It will probably go in the Fiat Studio as a consolation prize of sorts for those dealers that wasted money on that dead end.

          • 0 avatar
            here4aSammich

            but why try to relaunch here? They’ve got an underutilized premium brand in Chrysler. Why not bring the 2008, 3008, 5008 and the 508 fastback and wagon over, simply rebadged as Chryslers?

          • 0 avatar
            Dartdude

            There are about as many people looking to buy a new Peugeot in the USA as there was people wanting a new Fiat or Alfa. If they are smart they won’t waste a penny trying to sell Peugeot here.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Many decades ago, French cars had a reputation for smooth ride. If they have retained that expertise, it might play well on the crumbling roads of the US.

  • avatar

    I guess the last small car to be engineered in America was the defunct Saturn brand. Even the French has surpassed America in compact car design. Detroit has become the international laughing stock of the automotive engineering community.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Corvette, Hellcat, Mustang, Pickup trucks.
      Detroit is doing pretty well where they put their resources.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      I mean this paragraph is only meaningful if you consider compact cars to be the pinnacle of the automotive engineering community.

      Nobody has really built a full size pickup that surpasses American designs. Does that mean the rest of the world is the laughing stock of the automotive engineering community? After all the reason the rest of the world doesn’t put much effort into pickup trucks is the same reason Detroit doesn’t put much effort into small cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The rest of the world has the Toyota Hilux. No need for a North American pickup.

        • 0 avatar
          here4aSammich

          The rest of the world would love a full size pickup, compared to a Hi-Lux. Take a look at how the Aussies are snapping up every converted American pickup they can right now.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            No they wouldn’t. Australia is a large, relatively wide open nation with large of undeveloped land.

            Trying to drive an American fullsized pick-up in most of Europe, Asia or cities in South America or Africa could be disastrous.

            For the same reason in Europe and much of the rest of the world small vans are much more popular than in North America.

  • avatar
    Matias Seyboth

    “On this side of the Atlantic, small FCA cars barely exist” – Don’t forget that not only north americans are reading what you’re writing. Small FCA cars has a great market share in South America.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This could go one of two ways:
    • Oui oui
    • Wee-wee

    But seriously, Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual. And knows more than a little about cars – even small cars.

    [It is impressive to me that this decision is made and done so quickly. The car companies I worked for would’ve spent years of duplicate effort before hemming-and-hawing to just about the same conclusion – before revisiting it a few times.]

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      On the subject of oui oui versus wee – wee , PSA also stands for “Prostate-Specific Antigen”. Hopefully this is much more than a swollen gland that gets examined by a finger up one’s azz.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    RIP FIAT Panda

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My knowledge of French cars only extends as far as Top Gear UK. As such, I can’t speak to whether they would work here, but Clarkson seemed to enjoy them; at least the little hot hatches.

    Also, from a strictly childish perspective I’d love to see the lion emblem emblazoned on vehicles trundling around over here. I know it’s dumb, but I’ve liked it since I saw it. American manufacturers’ insignia are boring.

    We’ve already gotten our mitts on important bits designed and manufactured in France in the form of transmissions.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks are French, the
    mechanics German, the lovers Italian and it’s all organized by the
    Swiss. Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics French, the
    lovers Swiss, the police German, and it’s all organized by the Italians.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    This will drastically reduce the choice of unique vehicle designs for European market. Fiat and Opel small car platforms were very popular, as much as Peugeot 2-series.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s a worldwide phenomenon as the industry coalesces into a few mega-companies. In the postwar era, you could buy a Packard, Studebaker, Hudson, Nash, Kaiser, a host of smaller companies, as well as former GM and Ford marques Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Mercury, all of which no longer are made.

      There were also a number of foreign imports available that no longer exist today. Before the 1929 stock market crash there were dozens of automakers in the US alone, and many more in other countries.

      The capital intensive, low margin nature of automaking has claimed a great many unique carmakers, all while increasing the cost of entry. The pressure is to combine for economies of scale and put resources to most efficient use.

      Even the survivors are making cars that all look the same, because they all have the same technology and the same constraints. Not only have unique automakers been winnowed out, unique designs are now impossible to find.

      • 0 avatar

        You can say the same thing about computers, phones and anything else. I remember time when there were Atari, Commodore, Amiga, Spectrum, PC, Apple 2, Lisa, Tandy, BBC and on and on. Al unique architecture, OS, video standard, keyboard and even CPU.

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