Out of all the mainstream brands included in the Fiat Group and Chrysler LLC portfolio, Alfa Romeo has the most potential to achieve a global reach and bring in some much needed cash and sales. The Italian company's boss Sergio Marchionne is well aware of this and that's one of the reasons he doesn't want to sell Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen, despite Ferdinand Piechs' persistent efforts.
Suffice it to say, there's no way of being sure that the Fiat Group has managed to sort out the time schedule-related problems when it comes to Alfa Romeo. Nevertheless, at a recent event for investors, the Fiat Group introduced an updated plan for the Milanese brand, which it hopes will revitalize Alfa Romeo through the presentation of new models.
The company's product plan calls for the introduction of two types of cars, described as "brand igniters", which refers to vehicles designed to strengthen the brand's image, and the mainstream "brand sales pillar" models to improve sales.
The first new vehicle to arrive is the carbonfiber-bodied, mid-engined 4C supercar that will also signal Alfa Romeo’s return to the US market in 2013. Although it will be a low-volume seller, the two-seater model's design and advanced technology promise to act as 21st century reminder of Alfa’s sport history and credentials.
The second model that falls under the “brand igniter” umbrella is the brand-new 2014 Spider. According to Alfa Romeo, the roadster will offer both sporty driving characteristics and distinctive styling, while its low weight construction will give it a high power-to-weight ratio.
Of much more importance to Alfa’s expansion and financial viability is the new Giulia saloon and sportwagon, which will be based on an enlarged version of the Giulietta platform. It will replace the 159 in 2014, two years later than originally planed.
Since Alfa will cease production of its current mid-size luxury model at the end of 2012, this will leave the company without a contender in the Audi A4 / BMW 3-Series segment for more than a year. The reason for this gap is that Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has reportedly rejected the Alfa Romeo styling team’s proposals more than once.
The second volume-seller in Alfa’s “brand pillar” range will be a compact SUV available worldwide. Along with the Giulia, it is expected to contribute greatly to the carmaker’s goal of reaching 400,000 units by 2014 – quite a leap from the 155,000 sales expected this year.
The compact SUV, which will be built in Italy and compete with the likes of the VW Tiguan and Ford Kuga, promises to combine the typical attributes expected in this category with "true Alfa Romeo" styling, handling and performance.
Fans of the brand will be glad to hear that Alfa will launch the first mass-produced rear-wheel drive model since the 75 (sold in America as the Milano) gave its place to the FWD 155 in 1992. The as-of-yet unnamed sedan will be the brand’s luxury flagship model and will most likely share its platform with the Chrysler 300. Apart from being RWD, Alfa has also revealed that it will be powered by a V6 engine with production set to start in 2014.
Central to Alfa’s plans will be the new, all aluminum, direct injection 1.8-literturbocharged engine that will be fitted to a wide range of Alfa’s models producing up to 300-horses.
Last, but not least, Alfa Romeo has also revealed plans about its current portfolio. The Brera/Spider duo will be discontinued towards the end of 2011, while the MiTo will get a five-door version in early 2014 and the Giulietta a mid-life facelift the same year.