Report: Alfa Romeo Pushes Back Giulia, SUV At Least 6 Months
Alfa Romeo will delay two models critical to that brand’s comeback and will likely miss its ambitious sales target of 400,000 cars by 2018, according to Automotive News.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said a weakened market in China forced the brand to reassess its sales target, which he initially set in 2014.
“I still think that Alfa belongs in China,” Marchionne said last week during the company’s announced third quarter earnings call, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.”
According to the Automotive News report, Alfa Romeo will delay its Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan by six months in Europe and a Giulia-based SUV by nine months. The scheduled launches for both cars would likely happen in mid-2016 and early 2017, respectively. Those cars would likely make their way to North America roughly three to six months after their European debut.
The two cars for Alfa Romeo were vitally important to the brand’s success and future against luxury competitors in Europe, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
Talking to investors, Marchionne said that Alfa would continue its global investment of $5 billion in Alfa, but that its build-out would likely finish in 2019 or 2020, instead of 2018. That investment reportedly includes eight new models for the Italian brand, including compact and full-size sedans and SUVs.
According to analysts, pulling back Alfa could be a reassessment of that brand’s future after plans for luxury brand Maserati haven’t materialized.
“It’s a bit odd to start blaming China for a fundamental change in the plan for Alfa,” Max Warburton, an analyst for Bernstein, told Automotive News. “Maserati was the dry run for Alfa and it has not gone to plan.”
Alfa Romeo unveiled the Giulia Quadrifoglio in June and displayed the car in Frankfurt shortly thereafter. Journalists said many features, such as the car’s interior — particularly the center console and shift knob — felt unfinished. Under the hood, the Alfa creates 510 horsepower and rockets up to 60 mph in under four seconds.
Alfa Romeo has not yet announced a price for the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
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