By on June 20, 2011

Alfa’s four-year product plan has leaked to, and though it takes a little deciphering it confirms what we’d been hearing: that key Alfa products will be “Imported from Detroit” (to borrow a phrase). Here’s what we’ve been able to piece together: the 2012 models are the 4C “supercar” (note Alfa’s use of scare quotes around the term) and the Compact-Wide “C-SUV,” which will be built alongside the next-gen Jeep Compass and Patriot in Italy. Then, in 2013 the midsized Giulia sedan and sportwagon will debut, underpinned by the developed-in-Detroit next-gen 200/Avenger platform. That same year, the MiTo will gain five-door and convertible versions as well, with a more-mysterious D-SUV that will likely be closely related to the next-gen Jeep Liberty. Finally, in 2014 Alfa will update its C-segment Guilietta, at which point it should be ready for global (i.e. US-market) duty.

Which brings up an important point: this is Alfa’s European product plan, and US-market efforts could take a bit more time. And even for Europe this plan could be ambitious: Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has already reportedly rejected initial designs for the all-important Giulia midsizer, and seems to be waffling on whether it will be built in the US or Italy. In any case, the lineup seems set: a carbon-fiber Cayman competitor, a Tiguan/Q5 fighter (related to the next Compass/Patriot), followed by a midsized sedan/sportwagon (on the 200/Avenger platform), and a version of the next-gen Liberty. Needless to say, step one of the plan sounds lovely… the rest seems like a challenge of differentiation more than anything else. Especially if all of the planned models come to the US, where they’ll have to fit between a (very) similarly-revamped “luxury” Chrysler brand and “sporty” Dodge brand.

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19 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Alfa’s Comeback Strategy Edition...”

  • avatar

    I admit I got a little interested when the sportwagon was mentioned, but then you mentioned that this was the European plan. I have learned to not get my hopes up on sportwagons making a comeback in the states.

  • avatar

    Thinking about it, I have to say I’m looking forward to having affordable Italian style added to the choice of autos here.

    I’m not sure if the American buyers as a whole will be receptive enough. Are they too conservative to buy them in decent enough numbers? After all, the two best selling vehicles are pickup trucks whose square-styling isn’t that much different from when I was growing up.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    Very mixed feelings.

    One the one hand, being able to again purchase a new “Italian” sporty-car — I see sedans, but why no SPIDERS and COUPES? — anyway, makes me salivate. There’s just something about an Italian car (brio? flair?) that no one else matches.

    On the other hand, are they going to be ruined by “modifying” to “appeal” to “American tastes”? Cup holders, fine. Soft suspension and steering, not so much.

    And then there’s the prospect of them being assembled by the six-pack-at-lunch UAW crowd … UGH!

  • avatar

    Italian style? maybe they have the ability to make the dreaded plastic triangle feature look beautiful? It already has the very attractive “200” on it, so maybe something other than black? I’m waiting…

  • avatar

    This is a shame. One of TTAC’s best creations is Mr. Euro, and I realize there is a lot of truth in there.

    That being said I just spotted a 2006 GT Coupe in DC. Diplomat plates. You get a fair number of imports in the area. Beautiful car, beautiful sound, cheesy German driver. Sigh. I would kill for some Alfas.

    Basing them on Chryslers looks like a plan, but it just takes too long, and I want them now!

    I told my (european) gf that I’d be glad to marry her if an Alfa was included in the dowry. Somehow she didn’t find that so funny.

  • avatar

    So they are going to dress up Chryslers and charge like they are euro cars? Solid plan. Look up “Mercedes-Chrysler merger of equals.”

  • avatar

    I’m intrigued by the sport wagon as well. We can only hope it makes the U.S. roadmap.

    Alfa’s have a “cool” factor far beyond Dodge or Chrysler. But I’m not sure I’d want one knowing that its underpinnings are Chrysler in origin. I suspect the unique driving character of Alfa Romeo will have a difficult time being more than skin deep in these cars. If they borrow Chrysler drivetrains it will be all but impossible.

  • avatar

    If they borrow Chrysler drivetrains it will be all but impossible.

    From 2005 to 2010 Alfa V6s were Holden (GM high feature) blocks with Alfa Romeo heads. (Before 2005 they were the glorious Busso V6 introduced in 1979.)

    I suspect the new V6s will be Chrysler Pentastar V6s with Alfa designed heads as well.

    The idea that the Chrysler Pentastar V6 will also power Jeeps (a vehicle that is perhaps the polar opposite of an Alfa, not better or worse just opposite) has unnerved Alfisti. But they say all the magic is in the head. We’ll see….

  • avatar

    This couldn’t be any fu*&ing worse for the Alfa brand. Take the least competitive cars in their class (Compass, 200, Liberty), none of which are the least bit Italian by any measure, and slap Alfa badges on them in order to screw gullible Americans.

    I have always loved Alfa’s, and would love an opportunity to buy a 164 here in the states today. But I beg you, Alfa, please don’t bother coming here if this is what your plan is. Better you wither and die an honorable death. Rebadged Chryslers will only hasten your demise, anyways, it will just be more shameful and lengthy.

  • avatar

    The final nail to Alfa`s coffin.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Platform sharing does not make the resulting vehicles good or bad. It is all a matter of the details and how well they are attended to.

    VW is probably the planet’s best platform leveraging company at the moment, and everyone else is rushing to learn from VW’s example.

    As far as engines go, it isn’t primarily the block, crank and connecting rods which give an engine it’s character as long as said components are done competently. The management of getting the fuel/air mixture into the engine and the exhaust back out is indeed where most of the magic is. This comes down to heads, intake manifold, exhaust system, turbos or not and engine management.

    Look at how many diverse applications Nissan uses the VQ series of V-6 engines for. I don’t hear G37 drivers bemoaning the fact that a version of the same engine also shows up in minivans, SUVs, Altimas and all manner of Renaults.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know any G37 drivers. Do you think the engine matters to them beyond its smoothness? (Not a rhetorical question.)

      On the other hand, I’d say for Alfa owners (and Porsche owners, etc) the specifics of an engine, including its pedigree and racing heritage, do matter.

      Just my 2¢ worth, your opinion may differ.

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        Porsche and Ferrari buyers are spending obscene amounts of money for costly to buy and costly the run automotive showpieces and I can see where they might obsess over heritage and pedigree issues.

        However, 99% of the car buying population doesn’t worry about such things. The Bentley Continental is doing just fine in its market even though it shares a platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton. Rolls Royce more than doubled sales from 2009 to 2010 even though the car shares an engine with BMWs which cost about 1/3 of what a Roller costs. Most buyers don’t care about heritage or racing pedigree. Those concerns only affect the very, very small minority of the market which focuses on such things.

  • avatar

    If you know what youre doing creating good cars fom generic powertrains is easy Lotus built the fastest 4 door on the planet using an ordinary Vauzhall sedan as a base they tuned hell out of it but that was the start point HSV turn out very fast and competent cars using Chevrolet powered Holdens as a base. Why couldnt Alfa head down this path using Chrysler power trains,,,,,,,,,,, Jensens anyone??? Lots of companies send engines out for final tuning is Alfa that good maybe they could rival cosworth or Yamaha I doubt it but whats the harm it might keep Alfa open

  • avatar

    NN you are a complete idiot. Where does it say that they are going to slap Alfa badges on the current Compass, 200 and Liberty? READ the article, Alfa will get versions of the replacement models, all of which be based on new Fiat platforms.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    This plan would make more sense if Alfa was intended to replace the Chrysler brand in the US. Why three car brands? And why so much Alfa focus on SUVs? If the next-generation Liberty will still be on a “truck” platform, what justification is there for an Alfa variant?

    The group think in Fiat’s management ranks must be exceptionally strong. Otherwise this plan would have long since been laughed out of the room. Has media attention gotten to Sergio’s head? Or was he never quite as good as Fiat’s press releases would suggest?

    • 0 avatar

      If the next-generation Liberty will still be on a “truck” platform, what justification is there for an Alfa variant?

      Why the Alfa Romeo Matta of course.

  • avatar

    The reason there will be Chrysler, Dodge, and Alfa is b/c they decided not to “merge” the Alfa and Dodge brands as they are too different in personality (duh).

    Basically, most Dodge/Fiat products will be the same (Dodge Journey/Fiat Freemont) except for the boutique nameplates (Fiat will be a boutique brand in the US with 500 and Dodge will be a boutique brand outside US with the new Viper). All common vehicles will be basically the same.

    Chrysler/Lancia will also be the same brand, but of course entry-level luxury.

    Only Jeep and Alfa will truely be unique global brands.

    Whether any of the future products will be good is beyond me, but one can only hope.

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