Fiat and General Motors will probably develop a common platform for future generations of the Fiat Stilo and Opel Astra.
"The convergence [common platform] plan for the C-segment is in an analytical phase," said Fiat Auto CEO Giancarlo Boschetti in a meeting with financial analysts.
GM Europe declined to comment. It is working on an all-new Astra that will appear in the Frankfurt auto show in September and go on sale in early 2004. The new Astra uses an evolution of the current Astra T-platform.
The so-called Middle Range Architecture platform would be the basis of the replacements for the Stilo in 2007 and the eventual successor to the new Astra.
The cars compete in the lower-medium class - Europe's largest market segment. Boschetti has said that 1 million vehicles a year would be built off the platform.
The Middle Range team would be based at Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
Boschetti said existing common platforms with GM provide a 5 percent reduction in development costs. "But we are fighting like hell to reach 10 percent," he said.
Fiat and GM currently have two common platforms:
Alfa will use the platform for its "Project 939," the sedan and station wagon that will replace the 156, plus new editions of the current Spider and GTV Coupe.
The 939 sedan will debut in the spring of 2005 and the Spider in early 2006. The 939 cars will lead the return of Alfa Romeo to the US market starting in 2007.
Constrained by financial difficulties, Saab abandoned plans to use the Premium architecture for the 9-5 replacements and the next-generation 9-3.