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I was still at school but he was in the thick of it. He’s working with Geely at the moment.
 

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Ralf, merger between FCA/PSA will be finalised around years end. Until then only limited cooperation will happen. La Familia wan´t jeopardise Alfa reputation and jump into bed with Opel - both for image and performance.

It is more likely for FCA to strengthen Alfa with cars which has a volume potential, and put money into cars that will, hopefully, create return on investment.

Yes.. but a new Astra/308 platform is a year or two away at the earliest. There's time to plan what they're going to do.

Alfa doesn't have a Giulietta replacement today because it hasn't got the money to engineer one. The Giulia platform is too big and too expensive for what has to be an £18-25k car... and FCA has nothing newer or better in its arsenal. The Evo-C is pretty stiff and a good platform but it's getting old now and newer technology (nuclear reactor, hybrid etc.) won't fit on it without (i.e. money) re-engineering it.

Meanwhile a Astra/308 platform won't have a problem getting funds, because PSA knows it'll sell 300,000 a year plus half as many again in spin-off models. Alfa can borrow that as it is... but also influence its engineering so that it can be adapted for Alfa's preferred suspension/drivetrain solution later.

An all-new mid-size platform costs something like €3 billion to develop. For Alfa that would work out as €6000 per unit in development (not even build) costs. For a Astra/308 it's more like €1500, based on 500,000 Giulietta models rather than 2,000,000 Astra/308s over the course of those model's lives.

An Astra costs €20k here.. a Giulietta €25k, so if Astra makes money at €20k, Giulietta must be losing money. The profit on a C-segment car is (for most manufacturers) around €100 a car... it's part of the reason Fiat didn't replace the Bravo with another hatch (Tipo was more "budget" but even though it was cheaper, it made more profit per car than the Bravo). And it's why SergioM went "upmarket" into the Giulia/Stelvio/SuV's market.. SuV's just generate more profit overall, even from fewer cars sold.

What PSA-FCA definitely won't do, is create a special platform just for the Giulietta. Why would PSA-FCA do that, if they have a new, expensive Astra/308 platform? They might want to go RWD/AWD and share it with a small Alfa/Jeep SuV etc... but if they were going to do that, they would have done it already. A new Giulietta only appears to make sense if you imagine it on a "volume" (Astra) platform.

But, as I wrote above, there's nothing wrong with an "Opel" platform. We have to avoid cliche's about brands and platforms. Pretty good Alfas came off the old Fiat Tipo platform (you might have to ask your dad).

A platform is just the basic car floorpan, the engines and drivetrains that it can accommodate and the ancillary systems (window motors, heaters, seat and suspension mounting points, infotainment, wiring harness etc. that go with it. As long as the platform is stiff and safe, then the pieces that Alfa adds to it will be what makes a Giulietta great or not, not that the heater motor has an "Opel" stamp on it (it'll be made by Bosch or Valeo etc. anyway, not Opel).


Ralf S.
 

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“Yes.. but a new Astra/308 platform is a year or two away at the earliest. There's time to plan what they're going to do.”?
What is your idea of leadtimes and where do you get it from?
 

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Discussion Starter #65
I don´t want to fight other opinions - but will stay with my own.

If a platform/architecture is "two years away" - to SOP - it is to 90 % defined. Last 18 months are for tooling and verification/validation of first vehicle on architecture.

I have said: Tonale architecture will probably be developed to incorporate both small SUV and hopefully Giulietta.

Luckily I don´t have to ask my dad, he - like the parrot - is no more.

Again: nobody knows - this is merely my deduction of released INFO - and based on some experience.
 

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“Luckily I don´t have to ask my dad, he - like the parrot - is no more.”
Mine's still alive but he was in advertising, however having worked in car design at an OEM for three decades plus I’d say two years is pushing it. The 208 based Corsa was designed in parallel and prior to the companies merging. They’d already practiced working together on the Crossland.
 

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The last three models of Astra (Mk4, Mk5 and Mk6) were produced from 98-04 (6 years), 04-10 (6 years) and 09-15 (6 years) respectively. N.B. Some variants of Mk5 lingered past the introduction of the Mk6.

The current Mk7 was rolled out in 2015 so it might not be rocket science to suggest it will be replaced in 2021 or 2022 at the absolute latest.

VX/Opel/PSA will be thinking about the replacement (Mk8) already I'd say. By the time they gets into firming up the platform designs (next year?) they will have worked out whether/how to tweak it for a Giulietta model, if that's what they want to do. At worst case, the platform will have nothing more than Vx/Opel/PSA usage envisaged for it.. but the components would still exist that Alfa could make use of, the same way that the MiTo popped out of the Punto architecture.


Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
Again: each and everyone to his opinion, but…..

Driving my Stelvio, I felt someting that I did not in my X4 - at home . Almost as my 9000 :)

I am fortunate to have been "forced" to drive a lot of various vehicles, and that is first time I have felt that the car was designed by people with same preferences as I - apart from SAAB:s.

It is a major risk, that even if Alfa are allowed to modify an Opel architecture, incl. rear axle, it will not feel as a genuine Alfa. I don´t think that The Family is prepared to take the risk - which they will willingly with FIAT.

Again: they are shooting for a merger to be completed by years end - clock is ticking…… Nothing will happen until merger is completed.
 

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It would be interesting to know what is "fixed" in a platform, and what characteristics could inhibit producing a driver's car. I can imagine a flexing structure would ruin the chances of a good car, but are there other things that would stop Alfa from basing a Giulietta or Gulia successor on a given platform?
 

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Discussion Starter #70 (Edited)
Architecture is the correct term. It consists of all major parts/ systems that really "makes" the vehicle. Most of these parts/systems are from suppliers. If we keep the discussion to Opel - which I believe is a good exampel of "middle of the road" vehicles. Opel has suppliers which concentrate on "middle of the road" manufacturers - OR suppliers, who will NOT supply Opel with latest or best parts/ systems - they are spared for "premium" manufacturers. Bosch is a good exampel of supplier who will "give" one of the three "Germans" first year of use and not try to sell to Opel.

Then it is up to manufacturer to integrate "everything". As I said above: Alfa has done that in Stelvio in a way I have not felt since SAAB went down the tube - or rather since 9000 :)

We have been discussing rear suspension - Alfa has a very good one. If you install that in an "Opel", it will help a lot - but there is also front suspension/steering. What will decide how close you will come to Giulia/ Stelvio handling/feel is how much the Beancounters will allow you to change/modify. In the case of the Giorgio (Giulia/Stelvio) architecture Beancounters were kept at bay - which is rare and will probably not happen again.

I forgot: there is a new twist with el entering the scene: some mfg - incl. FCA - has opted to have "same" architecture - with modifications - for IC and el. VW has not! I agree with VW.
 

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Discussion Starter #71
In Automotive News Europe of today - nov 28 - there is an article of FCA upgrade of factories, which are "to 90% ready"

Three will be for Renegade and other vehicles with IC engines. One will be for hybrid versions of "Renegade architecture vehicles" but adapted for hybrids Incl. TONALE!
 

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The Tipo Due platform was a good example of how adaptable things can get with the floorpan stretching from the Fiat Tipo/ Tempra , Lancia Dedra/Delta 2 , Alfa 155 147 etc to the Multipla and the Alfa Spider which changed the rear suspension. It evolved into the basis of the Lybra/156 and one area of the floorpan made it to the Compact Evo platform under the Giulietta. VW has the MBQ platform where it can be reproportioned .
 

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Discussion Starter #74
Alfa learned from GM - during two years of cooperation i Gothenburg - to present carry over content. I.e. Beancounters learned that.
Any GM-employee, showing a 90% red c/o picture, would be shot!
This is not the full architectural picture - chassis, upper body and interior is missing.
 

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My friend who was the Designer of the Mito interior, at Bertone, pointed out the similar offset HVAC package between the Astra and the Giulietta such that there could be commonality there. His Giulietta interior proposal was prototype tooled when Marchionne canned it and selected the then Giulia (fwd)theme, so he is pretty familiar with the architecture of carryover GM componentry.
 

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Fascinating stuff. Really, it's down to how much latitude (and budget) Alfa Romeo is given in any group. At the risk of triggering the "what is a real Alfa" debate (again), I'd say the cylinder head and suspension design are key, so long as the basic platform isn't too heavy or fundamentally compromised in any other way.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
This is not a new situation. History (and again some experience) tells us:
-FCA has the post of Chairman (Family), i.e. they will let Tavares do the hard "dirty work" to sort out integration of vehicles and develop new versions, BUT they will have a keen eye on Alfa. They, obviously, has decided for hybrid versions of the JEEP line up (where they are earning a lot of money) to be built in Italy - including a specific factory for all hybrids . incl. Tonale hybrid.

Sterzo: you are thinking like a "911 fanatic" - "they" claimed that they would abandon Porsche when P introduced SUV:s. Perhaps they did: Porsche is earning like 5 times more today than 10 years ago - on SUV:s.

Crucial is:
-design (styling)
-performance that journalists and customers like and can identify as "Alfa - true".
Price and quality must be competitive - but that is a given.

For "my" Tonale, major concern is quality, since we are talking new factories and a heavily upgraded JEEP architecture (I believe).

A friend of mine often pointed out: customer and journalists believe we are optimising our vehicles - that`s bull - we are constantly doing the least bad compromises.
 

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Because of the big change in the market towards electric cars, barriers to entry have appeared whereas before this a good compromise kept a company in the game. A good book on the subject https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781403998835 from ten years ago explains the ingredients of the German makers. The Cayenne had just been introduced. An international engineering group of contractors was assembled to get the project started including an ex-colleague and it was taken over by the in-house engineers after a matter of months, sharing much with the Tuareg. At the same time the Porsche boss was driving a Jeep equivalent for benchmarking. Immediately after launch there was a cost-cutting exercise/update, something FCA never does...
 

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Discussion Starter #79
cue2, interesting - but in reality standard procedure - not always expressed that way. As mentioned above - all development is "making the least bad compromises".

This means that when you have the final product, you can always find things to get cheaper/better. Even if FCA is not officially announcing upgrades/rationalisations - they are doing it - everybody does.
 

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We called them “cost opportunities” at Ford. The first cars are generally full of fixes for issues found during launch so Value Management ideas are implemented for a few months. Things are expressed in different ways in different companies.
 
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