Alfa Romeo will base future models on a new platform being developed by parent Stellantis, dropping the much-touted Giorgio platform that underpins the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, currently the only vehicles it sells.
Upcoming Alfa models will use the “STLA large” architecture, the brand’s new CEO, Jean-Philippe Imparato, said during a roundtable with Italian media on Wednesday.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said at the automaker’s first annual meeting on April 15 that the company will use four electrified platforms across the 14-brand group — small, medium, and large for cars, and “frame” for high-margin SUVs, crossovers and pickups.
Stellantis was created in January from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group.
During the roundtable, Imparato said that all future Alfas will be electrified, either with a full-electric drivetrain or a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain. “If you are not electrified, you are dead,” he said.
Tonale delay confirmed
Imparato confirmed that the launch of Alfa’s upcoming Tonale compact utility vehicle — a crucial model for the brand‘s revival — has been delayed by 12 weeks. Company sources told Automotive News Europe earlier this month that Imparato has demanded better performance from the vehicle’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, pushing back a sales introduction until early 2022.
Production of the Tonale will start at Stellantis’ Pomigliano plant in Italy in March 2022 and its market launch will follow on June 4, 2022, Imparato said.
Baby Alfa delayed too
Imparato confirmed that a new Alfa model will be built in Poland. He did not give details about its size or launch date.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement on its Polish website on Dec. 29 that it will modernize a plant in Tychy, Poland, to build hybrid and full-electric Jeeps, Fiats and Alfa Romeos.
The first of three new models will go into production in the second half of 2022, the statement said.
According to Automotive News Europe sources, the Alfa version has been delayed by three months to April 2023.
The SUV will be positioned below the Tonale and could be named Brennero, after a mountain pass in northern Italy, Italian press reports say.
Giorgio platform written off
The axing of the Giorgio platform marks the end of the rear-wheel, all-wheel architecture announced in 2014 by then-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne as part of plans to transform the brand into a global challenger to German premium rivals such as BMW.
An Alfa Skunkworks team of engineers, designers and stylists developed technical innovations for the platform such as double-clutch Torque Vectoring in an effort to create sector-leading driving dynamics.
Alfa’s 2014 revival strategy planned for eight models to be launched by the end of 2018 with global sales projected to grow to 400,000 vehicles by 2018 from 74,000 in 2013.
At that time, FCA said the Giorgio architecture was “flexible enough to be used by the Chrysler and Dodge brands because Alfa alone cannot generate sufficient volume to achieve worthwhile economies of scale.”
No other FCA brands adopted the platform because it was too expensive. It is only used by the Giulia and Stelvio. The Maserati Grecale midsize SUV, which launches later this year, will use the platform because it shares underpinnings with the Stelvio.