Alfa Romeo forced to abandon its much-touted platform, due to an oversight in ‘future-proofing’ it for electrification.
Alfa Romeo has announced it will kill its in-house ‘Giorgio’ vehicle architecture, due to it never being designed to accommodate electrified powertrains – despite the company spending more than a billion dollars on its development the previous decade. Only the rear-wheel-drive Giulia and the all-wheel-drive Stelvio are officially underpinned by the Giorgio platform, with plans for it to be introduced across sister brands abandoned due to cost constraints, according to industry outlet Automotive News Europe.
Future Alfa Romeo models will adopt the ‘STLA Large’ architecture, shared across the Stellantis group. Stellantis was the name given to the merger of Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) and Peugeot parent company Groupe PSA, which finalised in January 2021. It encompasses more than a dozen car brands and related companies. At a meeting earlier this month, group CEO Carlos Tavares said Stellantis will use four vehicle platforms across its brands – all of which will offer either hybrid or fully-electric powertrains. “If you are not electrified, you are dead,” Mr Tavares said during the annual meeting.
According to Forbes, earlier this week Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Phillipe Imparato admitted the Giorgio architecture would be killed-off: “We are working on the Large platform of Stellantis and we will no longer use the Giorgio”. It’s believed the reason for the decision is due to the Giorgio platform not being designed to accommodate batteries and electric motors – the lack of foresight in ‘future-proofing’ the platform ultimately causing its earlier-than-expected demise.
While Alfa Romeo never disclosed the amount spent on the development of the vehicle architecture, it’s reported the company was forced to write-off nearly €800 million (AU$1.25 billion) of investment in the project in 2019 – with the overall development cost likely to be higher. Giorgio stemmed from a 2014 ‘master plan’, in which the Italian car maker had outlined an aggressive – and expensive – strategy to produce a total of eight models, with flagship models to enjoy driving dynamics on par with German rival BMW.
The idea was to amortise development costs of the Giorgio platform by offering related models from Chrysler and Dodge, but it was ultimately too expensive for the American brands to adopt. Former FCA CEO Mike Manley eventually stifled Alfa’s ambitions, scaling back its planned line-up to just four models: the Giulia sedan, Stelvio SUV, the upcoming Tonale small SUV, and another upcoming small SUV called the Brennero.
“We must take advantage of the volumes to take all possible opportunities and bring an [electric vehicle] range to Alfa Romeo, but always with the touch of Alfa Romeo,” Mr Imparato told Italian media this week.
It’s expected the Italian car maker will offer a range of both hybrid and fully-electric models by 2030.