BERLIN - Fiat's platform strategy, introduced this decade, has taken a new direction with the space frame construction used in the new Multipla.
'We had reached a critical point in industrial costs, because the customers wanted more and more individual cars,' Nevio di Giusto, senior vice president, platform strategy development at Fiat Auto SpA, said in a speech at the Automotive News Europe Congress here. 'There is no way back - neither in the choice you have to offer nor in the quality.'
This forced Fiat to think about a new platform concept to succeed the five-platform strategy on which the group's Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia brand models are based. 'We approached the steel space frame concept with various prototypes, starting in 1991 with the VVS concept car. It was finally realized in the Multipla,' di Giusto said.
The space frame's lightweight technology not only helps Fiat reduce fuel consumption and emissions, but also offers great flexiblity in design and manufacturing.
'You do not have the limits of having to share a floorpan and the door frame, as we had with our conventional platform concept,' di Giusto said. 'With the space frame you just shorten or lengthen the frame and you are completely free in what body panels you add.'
This new concept, used first with the Multipla and soon to be extended to a whole family of cars, 'opens up a world of possibilities,' di Giusto said. He predicted space frame technology will increase Fiat's production capacity. It should also reduce manufacturing costs because model changes can be adapted without major problems. The space frame therefore helps Fiat react quickly to rapidly changing customer demands, he said.
'We have chosen to simplify the production rather than to simplify the product, to add value and versions rather than reduce the price, and to follow opportunities rather than to skip risks,' di Giusto said. 'For us Multipla is a real test to verify the product concept and the process advantages in production, as well as the advantages of the space frame technology in the model life cycle.'
Speaker: Nevio di Giusto
Title: Senior vice president, platform strategy development Fiat Auto Theme: Fiat's new space frame concept will change forever the way Fiat develops products
Quote: 'There is no way back -neither in the choice you have to offer nor in the quality'