As a member of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA), the regional operations build upon the historic foundations of Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli, and Chrysler Corp., established in 1925 in the USA by industry visionary Walter P. Chrysler.
Explore the region’s manufacturing facilities as well as the many other FCA facilities located around the world.
Housed in a portion of a renovated factory at the Mirafiori complex in Turin, the FCA Design Center provides an ideal environment for creativity and free expression of the values of the individual brands that represent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The Design Center supports the Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Lancia and Maserati brands.
A team of approximately 300 people, with an average age of just 33 years and hailing from no less than 12 different countries, manage all phases of the DESIGN process, from initial research to the construction of the approval prototype.
In a professional group always open to new technological challenges, the process goes from observing new styles and consumer trends to production of the final result – or “master” model – which defines the look and dimensions of the vehicle that will go into production.
A combination of intuition and vision, united with advanced technical know-how is also accompanied by state-of-the-art virtual simulation tools and digital models.
In addition to designers who create vehicle interiors and exteriors, the other specialists at the Design Center also include project managers, color and materials experts, model-makers who create physical prototypes and others who generate digital prototypes.
The Center also has a dedicated team responsible for development and implementation of new digital technologies, for testing vehicle models in virtual reality environments and for integrating the latest generation of on-board telematic devices.
Innovation is highly strategic to FCA’s business in the EMEA region and around the world. One of the Group’s centers of excellence is CRF based in Italy, which operates in close synergy with other centers of technical and methodological excellence located across the Group’s various operating regions.
CRF has three main objectives: to develop innovative power units, vehicle systems, materials, methodologies and processes to improve the competitiveness of FCA products; to represent FCA for national and European collaborative research, taking part in pre-competitive research projects and promoting the development of a network of contacts and partnerships at the international level; and, to support FCA in enhancing the value of its intangible assets.
CRF is headquartered in Orbassano (Turin). Smaller units, dedicated to specific activities and research areas, are located at the Mirafiori plant in Turin, the Pomigliano d’Arco plant near Naples, the Magneti Marelli plant in Bologna, as well as in Valenzano, Melfi and Trento.
At the European level, CRF participates in the “European Green Vehicle Initiative” and “Factories of the Future” Public Private Partnerships established by the European Commission to focus public and private sector research on areas of major importance for industrial competitiveness and employment. CRF also supports programs launched by EU institutions through industry-led European Technology Platforms such as ERTRAC (road transport), EPOSS (smart systems), EUMAT (materials), MANUFU-TURE (manufacturing) and NANOfutures (nanotechnology).
In Italy, CRF is active in several public and private research consortia and works closely with national and local institutions on the development of research programs focused on sustainable mobility, advanced materials and innovative manufacturing processes. Principal among these is Cluster Trasporti Italia 2020, an association of businesses, universities, research organizations and other entities focused on enhancing Italy’s competitiveness in road and sea transport and mobility systems.
CRF manages FCA’s intellectual property together with its research and development activities, with a view to protecting and promoting the Group’s innovative product and process solutions. CRF considers intangible assets, including intellectual property rights, as vital to the strategic positioning of the Group. At 31 December 2017, CRF had a portfolio of 2,346 patents protecting 496 inventions that guarantee the distinctiveness and competitiveness of FCA products.
FCA is committed to improving the environmental footprint of its products globally and promoting increasingly sustainable mobility based on the use of alternative fuels. From natural gas to biofuels and hybrids, the Group works continuously to ensure its technologies are aligned with the fuel types available in each market and to create solutions capable of generating immediate benefits in terms of reducing emissions.
In the EMEA region, in particular, natural gas is one of the most concrete solutions. FCA is the European automaker with the strongest tradition in this area, having produced and sold more than 740,000 natural gas-powered vehicles since 1997. In 2017, the Fiat Panda set a record with more than 300,000 natural gas-powered vehicles produced.
In Italy, replacing older vehicles with natural gas vehicles would have significant environmental benefits for the environment, reducing CO2 emissions by as much as 40%, NOx up to 94% and PM up to 95%. Natural gas-powered vehicles would also offer savings for Italian families and businesses of up to €800 million over 5 years.
Natural gas has potential as a renewable source of energy due to the development of biomethane. Produced from household waste and waste from agriculture and animal farming in a virtuous circular economy, biomethane generates ecological advantages similar to electric propulsion that uses energy produced from renewable sources. This is clearly shown by the “well-to-wheel” analysis, which takes into account CO2 emissions generated by vehicle use, as well as those caused by producing and transporting the energy used. Experiments are currently being carried out on Fiat Pandas powered only by biomethane produced at the wastewater treatment plant operated by the CAP Group in Milan.