FIAT’S BUYING A CADILLAC
Fiat is buying the General Motors Sigma platform, which is currently used as the basis for the Cadillac CTS, STS, and SRX. The move is part of a plan by the Italian automaker to shift most of its vehicles to rear wheel drive from their current front wheel drive configuration.
This, according to The Truth About Cars.com blog, based on a report in European magazine Autobild, will result in Fiat’s 169 large sedan, 159 smaller sedan, the Alfa-Romeo spider convertible, Brera Coupe, and a new generation of small Maserati’s being built on the Sigma platform. It also could be used for the next Quattroporte and Maserati GT.
The move is found money for General Motors, which presumably had already amortized the costs of developing the platform over its own car lines. It’s also sweet revenge. GM once owned a part of Fiat, under a deal that essentially gave Fiat the right to force GM to buy the rest of the company. It cost GM dearly to get out of that deal and the money it paid to Fiat to escape became the seed money used by the Italian company to begin its own turn-around efforts.
The move also reflects an assessment by Fiat of the expected regulations currently being established in the European Union for future vehicles. Apparently, Fiat is sufficiently confident that these regulations can be met with larger rear-wheel-drive cars that it is prepared to make the commitment to buy the Sigma platform.
The move reflects the increased globalization of the auto industry, as the development costs become so great that automakers find themselves forced to cooperate in order to make new developments economically feasible.