FCA is hoping to raise its game on speed to market and innovation for future new products packed with advanced technologies

FCA is hoping to raise its game on speed to market and innovation for future new products packed with advanced technologies

Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) is to consolidate its new product engineering and development units into a new global unit that it says will lead to faster speed to market and boost technological innovation.

The new unified product development organization will be sustained by three strategic activities – core engineering competencies responsible for addressing key technology opportunities; transversal program management and execution; and support for program delivery and management of decoupled activities. Until now, product development had been served by multiple organizations that operated as regional sub-groups or stand-alone units.

The company says the reorganisation better positions FCA to continue its rollout of electrified propulsion, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies.

It also says the new working environment will benefit product quality 'while preserving brand identities and differentiation required to satisfy regional markets'.

The new unit will be led by FCA Chief Technical Officer Harald Wester and the new structure is to be fully operational in 2020.

"The industry has never experienced technological change at the pace we are now seeing," says FCA Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley. "So, we're unleashing the creative energy of our engineers and technical experts for the benefit of our customers and stakeholders worldwide."

"Our current structure has produced the most compelling and diverse product lineup in the industry, from Alfa Romeo to Ram and everything in between," Wester says. "The level of consolidation and integration we are now implementing will further enrich our product offerings – in all markets. And the big winners will be our customers."

Engineering activities will be supported by five new centers of technical competence:

  • Body, Chassis, Interior and Wiring Integration with the mission to develop the core vehicle component sets
  • Electrical/Electronics and Software, which will develop electronic architectures
  • Propulsion Systems, including electrified as well as conventional systems
  • Total Vehicle Integration
  • Advanced Technology and Pre-Development Programs

The new transversal program and execution management functions will matrix across all the engineering functions, businesses and brands. These will include a global Vehicle Programs team that will implement all-new product programs, as well as an Architecture and Vehicle Concepts unit focused on customer and performance targets, long-range architecture planning and developing new product proposals.

The most significant change is the integration of FCA's powertrain and vehicle engineering organizations. Previously, powertrain engineering was decoupled from the vehicle product development process. Now, it is embedded in a unified, global organization that promises improved cross-regional collaboration and more effective resource deployment. The new, flatter product development organization will also enable speed in decision making and best use of technical competencies around the globe.

"Our engineering resources will be concentrated and integrated, not diluted," Wester adds.

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