By on November 11, 2016

alfa romeo 4c

Alfa Romeo, the company that has had repeated difficulties getting the Giulia into North America, is planning to launch nine new models over the next five years.

How it actually plans to do this is anybody’s guess.

“Our goal is absolutely to go toe to toe with the Germans, but that’s not a two-year plan,” Alfa’s Reid Bigland explained in an interview with Autocar. “We’re just not going to get there that quickly. They’re in every segment and spinning derivatives off those segments.”

He specified SUVs being a large portion of Alfa Romeo’s plan to take on the Germans. The Giulia-based Stelvio SUV is already scheduled to arrive at dealerships in summer 2017 to compete with the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW’s X3. But Autocar hinted there might also be a performance-oriented competitor for the F-Pace and Porsche Macan, possibly using the Kamal crossover concept’s name.

Bigland also suggested that a larger SUV would make it to production as part of Alfa’s five-year strategy. “The whole world is gravitating to SUVs,” he said. “A few years ago, an Alfa SUV would have been sacrilegious, but now it makes perfect sense. Our job is to keep an eye on consumer preferences and give people what they want.”

The large SUV could be based on the same platform as Maserati’s Levante and arrive as early as spring of 2018. Bigland touted Alfa’s performance heritage, stating that the larger sport utility vehicle would focus more on sporting aspects than utility.

“Whatever car Alfa Romeo makes must stand apart for its agility, noise and general driving experience,” he said. “A large SUV can work in that space — the Maserati Levante proves that, but it’s a five not seven-seater.”

Alfa sounds as if it is banking particularly hard on SUVs and crossovers remaining popular. Bigland even went so far as to say that the company’s flagship vehicle may end up being one, putting off the finalization of a BMW 5 Series fighter.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quad, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

However, Alfa hasn’t abandoned cars entirely. The next vehicle to go into production after the Stelvio will be another car. Estate cars remain popular in Europe and Alfa Romeo wants to make sure that the Giulia has a wagon variant. The estate is scheduled to be revealed at the 2017 Geneva motor show and insiders say the design emphasizes sporting form over practical function.

There will also be a successor to the Giulietta, but not immediately. While the European market hasn’t yet turned its back on the little hatch and the U.S. market would likely find a niche for a future incarnation, Alfa has decided to hold off on production. The company says a launch of a new hot hatch will be least three years away.

Autocar suggests the delay in replacing the current car, which has remained its sales leader, is due to a debate over whether to upgrade the current front-wheel-drive platform or spend the money to modify the Giulia’s Giorgio rear-drive platform.

In order to cling onto its sports car heritage, Alfa needs sporting cars. The company has only the 4C, but is talking about a replacement for the defunct Brera. Still, the model wouldn’t come into existence before 2020. Alfa wants the car to come in coupe and spider variants.

Shelving the excitement of a sexy slew of new automobiles for a moment, the plan’s success seems to hinge on every part of it going off without a hitch. The Stelvio has to be a success to pave the way for the next SUV. There has to be money to rationalize updating the Giulietta. The 5 Series rival won’t be made if the 3 Series-rivaling Giulia doesn’t sell strong.

None of it will work without strong sales and profits to back up the next big push, but Alfa is struggling to gain traction in North America as it is. The company is also about to attempt to sell premium luxury vehicles without competitive hybridization technology — going into battle with a sword but not a shield.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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35 Comments on “Alfa Romeo Plans to Beat Germany by Tapping Its Proud SUV Heritage...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…nine new models over the next five years.”

    I can’t think of any mfr who could pull this off, let alone Alfa.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @SCE to AUX
      They just might. I had an opportunity to be driven in a diesel Alfa Romeo( rare experience in NA) and it went well, fuel economy pretty amazing, but noisy at idle.

    • 0 avatar
      Click REPLY to reload page

      Chrysler did, with the K car.
      Every model was basically the same car, but with different names. Seeing a repeat performance of that trick should not be too much of a surprise.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I figure Sergio will resort to that, even with Alfa. The full-size SUV could be built on the Grand Cherokee platform in Brampton, and “introduced” in Europe first, with the EU-Canada trade agreement allowing shipping to Europe, then cash in on American market sales of the “imported” Alfa. Where else are they going to sell the bulk of their large SUVs?

        • 0 avatar
          Morea

          “Painting a Jeep Wrangler red does not an Alfa Romeo Matta make”

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Of course not! You have to switch all the logos and use reshaped bumpers, then drop a Maserati V8 into it. Might as well yank the ZF and go with the Mercedes 5-speed automatic too. SOMETHING has to be reliable on it!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    With Big Serge at the helm, all things are possible…

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    More delusions from Sergio. Who does he think is going to buy this? Those suckers that built standalone Fiat stores with the promise that they’d be swimming in Alfas by 2014?

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    The classic Alfa community is pretty unhappy about the last minute switch to flappy paddle only transmissions after the Giulia Quad was touted as having a 3 pedal gearbox from the start.

    And I spoke to someone at a well known Alfa parts specialist who said no amount of begging / pleading was able to get him on the list for an early car. Apparently FCA is trying to get the first cars into the hands of celebrities for the cachet.

    TL/DR: Alfa is really trying hard to screw this up.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, I couldn’t believe it when I read the US Giulia will be stricken with a two-pedal setup only. Just when I thought there was a car worthy of taking over the true small RWD performance car crown as BMW casts it aside, they had to pull this crap.

      I hope its an error soon corrected.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Another fantasy plan. Where is the latest on the resurrection of Saab?

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      I know that was a rhetorical question, but the real Saab, the aircraft manufacturer, has pulled the rights to use their name and logo on cars, so NEVS if they ever manage to sell cars will need to use another name.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Elio Motors has a better chance than this.

  • avatar
    la834

    Alfa Romeo does have a proud SUV heritage!

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/17/Alfa_romeo_geländewagen.jpg/1280px-Alfa_romeo_geländewagen.jpg

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    What happened to the MiTo hot hatch us Americans were supposed to get? It would have filled a niche just above the Fiat 500.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

    “Whatever car Alfa Romeo makes must stand apart for its agility, noise and general driving experience”

    “Noise”?

    Don’t let Tank McNamara paint word pictures.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    When your New York City cab driver pulls up in an Alfa Romeo crossover, could you reasonably say he is a Kamal jockey?

  • avatar

    I love the brand, have driven five Alfa’s, but don’t see this happen at all. To begin with, despite its relative newness, the 4C is no match to the Cayman 2.0 (and probably the new Alpine). The Giulia is great (for an Alfa), but didn’t dethrone the BMW 3 Series. SUV territory is new to Alfa. What I can see, is that people will pick an Alfa, because they look distinctively non-German.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Anyone who believes one word FCA says about Alfa at this point is a fool.

    I really, truly, honestly don’t understand why these idiots are so hell-bent on resurrecting a brand no one gives a s**t about, to the point they’ll sacrifice the brands which are actually making them money.

    • 0 avatar
      moff90

      No one gives a s**t about you, either.

      As to the “sacrifice the brands which are actually making them money”, since the merger 90% of the money was invested in Jeep, Ram, the failed 200 & Dart, etc, while starving the other side of FCA.

      Since you have so much time to talk s**t about Sergio and those bastard eye-talians on every site that mentions anything about FCA, why don’t you look at the lineup of each brand in 2009, compare them to the current offerings, and tell me where most of the money went ?

      • 0 avatar
        automaniak

        + Pacifica

        Yes, for years Fiat fans in Europe heard FCA must invest in USA as this market is priority and gives money.
        Now it’s time for Europe and Brazil.

        Luckily all brands show healthy sales increase in Europe this year: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Jeep.

  • avatar
    automaniak

    FCA need premium brand like all other producers. The only one that can do it is Alfa Romeo.
    In Europe aging Giulietta is going up this year and Giulia did good start with no station wagon variant so far which is extremely important here. Then Giulia sales can be only much better in 2017/18.

    Consumers go to cross and suv then Alfa’s plan is very rational.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Alfa will be the death knell of that company.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Except that you are ignoring that FCA basically resurrected them after being owned by Daimler and Cerebus. Any time they stay alive with FCA can be considered “borrowed time”.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        True, but Alfa will be the end of the combined firm the way it seems to be going.

        Profits from Daimler era products were largely diverted to fund Alfa development while Fiat sourced products have largely been flops thus far. I’m waiting to see how those Fiat sourced Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge products hold up, it wouldn’t bode well for future sales if they ended up having some kind of endemic problem.

  • avatar
    Morea

    FCA doesn’t have the money to complete even half this plan.

    History tells us that Alfa will produce small volumes of superb but flawed driver’s cars as a result of working on a shoestring budget. What was true in 1914, in 1939, in 1974, is still true today. The glory of Alfa is its against-all-odds ability to soldier on because “this time it will be different.”

    • 0 avatar
      automaniak

      This time it is diffrent.
      Fiat got Chrysler SUV technology and can use economies of scale of their platforms due to combined Fiat+Chrysler entity.
      FCA already did succesfully Maserati plan which was supposed to be 1st step to following Alfa plan.
      Addly Europe car sales is booming with Italy as fastest growing market what makes Alfa plan much easier.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Italy’s economy is in too much trouble to save Alfa.

        Bloomberg: “Sep 29, 2016 – This week Italy cut its GDP forecast for 2016 to 0.8 percent growth, down from 1.2 percent estimated in April.”

        Forbes: “johnmauldin/2016/…/italy-is-the-mother-of-all-systemic-threats…”

        UK Telegraph: “May 11, 2016 – Italy is running out of economic time…”

        UK Independent: “Italy’s economy has shrunk by around 10 per cent since 2007, as the country endured a triple-dip recession. Output has regressed to levels of over a decade ago. Overall unemployment is around 12-13 per cent, with youth unemployment around 40 per cent. Consumption and investment are flaccid.

  • avatar

    FCA is in trouble. Already spread too thin, attempting to add Alfa-Romeo back into the mix at this point will be a fail. No matter how good the car is, they probably could’ve rolled the same car out with a different skin as a reborn Chrysler 300 and had a hit.

    But once you add together the costs of establishing a new brand – which to everyone but enthusiasts, Alfa-Romeo will be – along with convincing dealers, already burned by the ongoing debacle that is Fiat, that they should invest in Alfa-Romeo too…

    Epic. Fail.

    Within ten years, Jeep and maybe Ram will be Hyundai/Kia products. And the rest of FCA will be history. And the folks at Allpar.com will have hung Serge in effigy.

    • 0 avatar
      Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

      “Within ten years, Jeep and maybe Ram will be Hyundai/Kia products.”

      Or Dongfeng, SAIC, Chang’an….

      Irony is a ravenous hound.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      I’m sure Hyundai/Kia would know better than to saddle themselves with all the balls and chains associated with Jeep ownership. Way too much legacy costs unless they can purchase just the brand name and the visual design, and I’m sure the FCA will ask too much money for it, too.

      It’s usually the struggling automakers that are attracted to the bright light of the Jeep brand. I’m guessing one of the smaller Chinese automakers or GM.

  • avatar
    automaniak

    @Lorenzo

    Italy car registrations:
    2014 +4.4%
    2015 +15.8%
    2016 +16.7% (jan-oct)

    Alfa Romeo registrations in Italy recent months:
    SEP – + 47%
    OCT – + 31%

    Other important markets for Alfa Romeo like France, Germany, UK, Spain, Poland – all show positive year on year figures since 2014.

    In Germany Alfa Romeo is + 45% this year after flat first months and nearly +100% for MAY-OCT period.

    Just Giulia started, with sedan version only, SW will boost sales further.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You can’t fool me with percentages! Going from 15 cars sold to 21 is a 40% increase! Besides, accountants and mathemiticians don’t go past 100%, so to them, an increase of 6 to 21 is 6/21=28.57%.


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