Is Stellantis prepping Fiat for an India relaunch?
Delhi : In order to bring the Fiat brand back to India, Stellantis, which manages the Jeep and Citroen brands there, is probably going to use its STLA Medium (M) platform. The next-generation Jeep Compass and Citroen vehicles, which will both employ the STLA M platform that Stellantis unveiled earlier this month, are expected to arrive in India in 2026.
Globally, Stellantis is placing a lot of faith in the STLA M platform, which will also give birth to upcoming Fiat vehicles. As a result, Fiat can easily offer its own vehicles based on the same platform with little investment thanks to a platform that is already servicing sister brands Jeep and Citroen in India.
What should you know about the Stellantis STLA M platform?
The STLA M is the first of four international platforms focused on BEVs that will support a variety of upcoming models from various Stellantis brands. It is a modular platform, which enables it to support a wide range of cars, primarily in the C- and D-segments, with lengths between 4.3 and 4.9 meters and wheelbases between 2.7 and 2.9 meters.
The platform will support models with front-, rear-, or four-wheel drive, with the four-wheel drive utilizing a dual-motor setup. The vehicles' power outputs will vary from 215 horsepower to 382 horsepower, and their battery packs, which can hold up to 98 kWh, will provide more than 700 kilometers of range on the WLTP cycle.
Sedans, crossovers, and SUVs may all be built on the STLA M platform because to its versatility. In addition, it has been created to be lighter and provide better ride and handling than the outmoded PSA and FCA platforms that support the majority of Stellantis' present line-up. Despite being flexible enough to accept ICE powertrains, it has been developed with electrification at its core.
Greater synergy between Stellantis brands in India
At the moment, each of Stellantis' brands in India runs independently, with production split between two different sites. The Citroen C3, eC3, and C3 Aircross are all based on the CMP architecture, and they are all constructed in Thiruvallur, whilst the Compass and its descendant, the Meridian, are based on the FCA Small Wide platform. Additionally, it maintains a factory in Hosur that only produces powertrains for domestic and international markets.
The last cars to be based on each FCA and PSA architecture will be Citroen's C-cubed models and the current Compass series. Moving forward, for improved synergies both internationally and in India, all models from both companies will be based on the same STLA platform.
While Citroen's product succeeding the C3X crossover in India (launch end-2024) will be the first to adopt this platform, Jeep's next-generation Compass (code: J4U) will be the first STLA M platform-based car. The economies of scale would be further improved by adding yet another brand, and maybe the most appropriate choice is Fiat, a well-known brand in India. Fiat's return will only require Stellantis to make additional investments in manufacturing thanks to the STLA M platform.
Stellantis is determining whether relaunching Fiat will be profitable.
Fiat left India in 2019 due to an outdated model lineup that couldn't be updated to comply with BS6 emissions requirements and was nearly ten years old. Furthermore, the meager quantities just didn't warrant the expense of upgrading. In the run-up to the BS6 era, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, two significant clients for Fiat's diesel engine, switched to entirely in-house built engines.
Then, Fiat truly required new funding for a brand-new vehicle lineup and engine family. Even though it didn't happen back then, Stellantis now has the chance to achieve just that with the STLA M platform, and the fact that it shares a platform with Jeep and Citroen further strengthens Fiat's argument.
Stellantis is reportedly assessing whether it would be profitable to revive the Fiat brand in India and how it might be promoted differently. It is unclear how the Group can rationalize production for the impending STLA M vehicles given that it now has three factories in India, one each in Hosur, Ranjangaon, and Thiruvallur.