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Is it Dodge plus or versus Alfa Romeo?

by David Zatz on

The new “Giorgio” platform/architecture underpinning the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio leads to a few question, especially after FCA’s Reid Bigland said that Dodge might eventually get a crack at it.

The first question is, where did the Giorgio setup come from? The consensus of Allpar sources has long been that it was an FCA corporate creation, in its basic form — architecture and platform choices. The specific vehicles based on it are coming from their own countries. It’s like getting a motherboard and power supply; you can build all sorts of different computers around it (especially with a socketed CPU and four PCIe slots).

Too geeky? Never mind. The point is, the Alfa Romeos were developed in Italy, using a platform/architecture that was jointly created. Sergio Marchionne said as much, numerous times, until Alfa Romeo was close to birth — and then he avoided the topic.

Perhaps Dodge will use the already-engineered Stelvio as the basis for the next Journey, and maybe it will be built in Italy; but that doesn’t mean Dodge is getting Alfa Romeo cast-offs. It means that FCA is trying to optimize production and cut engineering costs.

Why minimize Dodge’s role? Because the company knows critics will seize on any opportunity to nitpick the Alfa Romeos, and if Chrysler (Dodge) is involved in any obvious way, well… there’s their shot to say it’s just an overpriced Dodge.

Why is Alfa Romeo getting all these new cars, and Dodge making do with refreshed versions of its old cars? Mostly because Alfa Romeo has been “on hold” for many years, and Dodge has not. The Charger and Challenger were re-engineered recently, the Durango added to the line, and the Dart added and quickly removed. The Journey and Caravan were made over. In the time it took for Alfa Romeo to get these two new cars, Dodge has had several makeovers and two new cars. To summarize: Alfa Romeo has been ignored to the breaking point. It’s do or die.

Without Dodge to share costs, it was nearly die, too, for Alfa Romeo.  Now, though, Dodge is able to make do with its current metal for a while, getting steady refreshes. Jeep and Ram have also gotten new product. Chrysler is the only issue for FCA US, and it’s not for lack of trying, with the brand new 200, the Pacifica, and a refreshed 300.

Alfa Romeo is going first because it needs to. Even an old Mopar hand like me can see the rationale, there. I just wish that FCA would keep their mouths shut about any link between Alfa Romeo and Dodge now. They tried linking Alfa to American cars with the Dart launch, and it failed. Daimler kept trying to link American cars with “German Engineering” and succeeded only in selling Volkswagens.

Let Dodge be Dodge, guys. Not publicly linking Alfa Romeo with Dodge works for Alfa Romeo — but it also works for Dodge.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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