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New Convenience Electronics for Alfa 159 Sportwagon Launched in Geneva

March 2006
 Filed under: ALFA ROMEO Car News | ALFA ROMEO Headlines

Johnson Controls develops and manufactures door panels and the integrated garage door opener HomeLink for the new Alfa 159 Sportwagon

March 1, 2003

Burscheid – Alfa Romeo will introduce its new station wagon variant, the Alfa 159 Sportwagon, when the Geneva Motor Show opens this March. Johnson Controls, one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive interior systems, electronics and batteries, develops and produces the door panels and the integrated garage door opener HomeLink for this vehicle. Characteristic of both products is the way they harmonize well with the vehicle interior. While special manufacturing technology is required to achieve this for the door panels, HomeLink is seamlessly integrated in the sun visor. For the first time in Europe, this electronic convenience product is now available as an option for an Italian automotive brand.
Johnson Controls is Europe’s second-largest manufacturer of doors and Italy’s market leader in this sector and already supplies door panels for the sedan version of the Alfa 159, the 147 and GT, the Lancia Ypsilon and the Fiat Stilo, Punto and Grande Punto. The company also provides the door panel for the new Alfa 159 Sportwagon. With its distinctive styling, the door panel continues both the visual and haptic lines of the cockpit surfaces and assumes the design of the seat upholstery in the center.

“What makes this door so appealing is its design,” said Marzio Raveggi, General Manager of Johnson Controls Fiat Business Unit in Italy. “Its surface blends in with the other interior elements, and, what’s more, it’s made of an environmentally friendly composite material.” A special manufacturing process is used to achieve this. The composite is made of equal parts natural wood flour and polypropylene (PP). The advantage of wood flour-filled PP is that it can be covered with similar materials, with no need for additional chemical adhesives. This eliminates the risk of adhesion problems. The pressed plates are heated and compressed behind the surface material. Compared to back-injection molding, this procedure offers a very high level of material protection and also enables edges and contours to be shaped and covered cleanly and precisely. The surface and substrate materials are bonded using pressure and heat only. A further improvement compared to traditional manufacturing processes comes from integrating the map pocket from the back of the door panel. The completed door panel thus gives the impression of a single molded piece and fits harmoniously within the Alfa 159 interior.

Besides the door panels, Johnson Controls also applies the principle of seamless integration with the HomeLink integrated garage door opener.

New-generation HomeLink even more flexible
In this way the new-generation HomeLink is integrated into the sun visor of the Alfa 159. This adaptive universal radio transceiver enables communication between the vehicle and the home environment, allowing the driver convenient control of garage and gate doors or lighting systems. The product is compatible with most remote controls for these systems – including those that rely on the latest 868 MHz frequency band. Programming is simple and convenient: HomeLink "learns" the frequencies of existing hand transmitters within 60 seconds.

The great advantage of a garage door opener that’s integrated into the car: it’s always in the same place and can therefore never be misplaced or lost. This is very convenient, especially in the dark. There are also no annoying batteries to change, since on-board electronics supply power to the HomeLink system. Also stored frequencies are retained even if there is a power failure. Starting in April, HomeLink can be ordered as an option for the Alfa 159 Sportwagon and sedan.


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