While refusing to confirm pricing and specification, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia revealed to CarAdvice that it wants to take on the Big Three premium German marques in Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz locally, not merely with the flagship Giulia Quadrifolio performance version but also with the entry Giulia and mid-range Giulia Super variants revealed recently at the Geneva motor show.
“In Geneva [we] discussed the engines available outside of the (flagship) QV,” says FCA's Senior Manager for Product Strategy, Alan Swanson. “And the US [has also announced] another engine variant, a 280-horsepower (206kW) four-cylinder turbo petrol version.”
“We’ll have a mixture of those engines as [Australia’s] preferred line-up,” he adds. “It should be relatively obvious which ones fit in well within the premium segment in Australia.”
“It’ll be very obvious the spots where we’re going to target with the [Giulia’s] entry range.”
The US-bound 206kW ‘high-power’ direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol four compliments the ‘low-output’ 150kW tune of the same engine revealed at the Geneva show. In other words, power sources aligned with mid-spec Giulia Super and base Giulia variants.
Likewise, it’s almost certain – if officially unconfirmed – that both the low-power 110kW and high-power 135kW version of the 2.2-litre diesels will power the respective low- and mid-level sedans, Down Under.
“What [the Australian market] will get will be a mix of what engines are available in both the major markets: US and European,” says FCA Australia's director of corporate communications, Lucy McLellan.
“We’re not confirming that (diesels) will be available, but we’ve put our hands up for them.”
The message, though, is crystal clear. Giulia won’t merely arrive in just 380kW biturbo V6-power QV form to take on German (Audi) RS, (BMW) M and Mercedes-AMG skunkworks, but as an all-out, multi-layered assault on the premium landscape.
“The three Germans are the main target for us,” says Swanson. “(Giulia) will be a simple line-up but it’ll target exactly where the core areas of the premium segment [are], where we see the opportunities.”
“Sergio Marchionne has gone on record saying that BMW is in our cross-hairs. But we also think that there’s an opportunity to tap into a different consumer. What Italian brands stand for is a little different to the German brands,” McLellan explains.
“Compared to the equivalent models from competitors in the premium segment, we’re going to have a good performance level, and (performance) is exactly what Giulia is about,” Swanson adds.
“We’re using some resources from an engineering level that are only available within our (FCA) group. Ferrari and Maserati have had huge input into the Giulia – it’s no secret that that is our ‘weapon.”
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