Fiat S.p.A. has a new Compact vehicle architecture that will soon underpin 700,000 Chrysler group vehicles annually in the US. and 300,000 in Europe by 2014.
This architecture will be seen first in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show next month on the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta sporty hatchback. Fiat and Chrysler are working together to create a widened version of the architecture, called Compact Wide.
This is intended to underpin at least seven new models for the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. The Compact Wide architecture will be seen on Chrysler group cars, two compact sedans that will replace the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Dodge Caliber in 2012.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne predict that the combined Compact/Compact Wide architecture volume will exceed 1 million units each year within four years.
The Compact architecture's modular design means that it can underpin vehicles of wheelbases of various sizes and lengths.
Fiat said that for the new architecture, it benchmarked Alfa Giulietta competitors such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series models.
At the Fiat's testing grounds in Balocco, Stefano Re Fiorentin, Fiat's head of advanced engineering, said that to develop the Compact architecture, the company searched for best-in-class performances when it comes to handling and steering response, weight-to-power ratio; noise, vibration and harshness, and active and passive safety.