Since 2004, when he became CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne has put forward no less than three revival plans for Alfa Romeo. None of them really worked, so the executive has now promised a new five-year plan that will be revealed in early 2014.
“We continue to work in a pretty determined fashion in trying to reshape the Alfa Romeo platform and I think we will be in a position to outline more at the end of the first quarter of 2014,” Marchionne said during a conference call with analysts.
The five-year strategy for Fiat Group and Chrysler will most likely be revealed in late April 2014 to coincide with the automakers’ first-quarter earnings report.
As far as Alfa Romeo is concerned, the plan is centered around a new rear- and all-wheel-drive platform that is currently under development by a small team of engineers coordinated by Harald Wester, Alfa Romeo and Maserati CEO and Fiat-Chrysler’s chief technical officer.
The platform is expected to underpin at least four new Alfa Romeos: the Giulia mid-sized sedan and wagon, a large flagship sedan and a mid-sized SUV. The first of these models is expected to debut in Europe in late 2015 or early 2016. All Alfa models based on this platform will be sold in the U.S. as well.
According to sources quoted by Autonews Europe, Modena-based engineers are working to make the architecture flexible enough to be used by the Chrysler and Dodge brands, more specifically the next generations of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedan, as well as the replacement for the Dodge Challenger coupe.
Alfa Romeo sold 102,000 units last year, less than one-tenth as many cars as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In the first nine months of this year, Alfa’s European sales fell 30 percent to almost 51,000 units, according to data from industry association ACEA.
By Dan Mihalascu