Fiat Auto has a multifaceted platform strategy for the future.
Besides its traditional vehicle platforms - which unite systems and components around a common underbody - Fiat plans models based on new, flexible platforms.
They include the steel spaceframe used for the Fiat Multipla and the 'flexible platform' that will be the basis of the Bravo/Brava replacement that debuts in October.
In addition, Fiat and General Motors are likely to share their existing underbody structures. The partners may also develop all-new platforms together.
Here is a look of the Fiat Auto's platform plans.
New products based on Fiat Auto's traditional platforms - based on floorpan architecture -include the Fiat Dobl compact minivan and the Alfa Romeo 147.
The Doblo has its own dedicated platform. The new small Alfa is based on a shortened version of Fiat's D-platform used by the Alfa 156.
The late 2002 successor to the Lancia Ypsilon will be based on the platform of the current Fiat Punto. The same platform will be used for a compact minivan for the Fiat brand, due in early 2003.
The 2001 Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Z full-size minivan replacements are based on the traditional V-platform Fiat developed in cooperation with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
Fiat Auto is developing a new generation of 'flexible platforms'. It says the new technology cuts tooling investment by 30 percent, and production costs by 20 percent. The new platform is more flexible than a traditional one because it allows variation in the wheelbase, overhangs and width of a vehicle.
The first flexible platform will be the C-D-H, used for Fiat Bravo and Brava replacements. The same platform will be used for the Marea Weekend station wagon successor due in spring 2002.
With this new technology Fiat is able to build derivatives between 4 and 4.6 meters long, and 1.7 to 1.8 meters wide.
The second modular platform, the A-B, is expected to debut in early 2003 on the Fiat Seicento replacement.
Prior to its strategic alliance with General Motors, Fiat also planned to use the new A-B modular platform for the third-generation Punto and second-generation Palio world car. But this plan is under review.
After the Multipla, Fiat will use its steel spaceframe system for parts of the body of project 841, the replacement for the Lancia K flagship due in early 2002.
The Alfa 166 successor was originally planned to use this technology, but will now probably shift to GM's Epsilon platform.
Fiat Auto has so far decided to build three new vehicles on GM's Epsilon platform, the basis of the next Opel/Vauxhall Vectra and future big Saabs:
The 2003 New Large project, the virtual successor to the Fiat Croma.
The 2003 Alfa Romeo Spider replacement.
The 2004 successor to the Alfa Romeo 156.
The Alfa 166 replacement may also use the Epsilon platform.
Fiat and General Motors may create two new common plat-forms:
A small platform to be used for the replacements for the Punto and Palio and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa.
A platform for upscale models.
To debut around 2005-2006, the common small platform could be derived from Fiat Auto's new A-B modular platform, or from Opel's next Gamma platform. Or it could become an all new, truly common project.
Also under review is an upscale platform called 'Premium Platform' that could debut in the second half of the decade.
It would be used mainly for Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Saab, and for Fiat and Opel niche models. It could feature sophisticated suspensions and four-wheel-drive systems.
The 'Premium Platform' could spawn a wide range of vehicles including sporty sedans, coupes, sport-utilities and crossovers.