The next generation of Alfa Romeos, set to finally be outlined in May, will return the company to its roots by being rear-wheel-drive, lightweight, good looking and powerful, the boss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed at the Geneva motor show.
Sergio Marchionne said he hopes the first of the next-gen Alfas will be in production by the end of 2015.
"We need to go back to what Alfa was known for," said Marchionne. "Alfa never had front-wheel drive until Fiat turned up.
"In its history it was known for rear-wheel drive, lightweight, good looks, powerful, a unique power-to-weight ratio, exceptional performance and truly good looks.
"We need to go back and rethink these and what made them unique. We need to make Alfas relevant again."
Marchionne said there was "a big chunk of engineers" working on a new architecture and powertrains for Alfa and "it should not be underestimated the work that is going on" with the Alfa Romeo relaunch.
Significant progress has even been made since January, Marchionne said, and the plan was a global one that would see Alfa relaunched in the US.
A European launch for the new Alfas would follow a launch in North America and China – markets that Marchionne considers most important for the new Alfas.
"I need to convince you that we have learned from past mistakes with Alfa and the next phase will be right. Not just my mistakes, but those of my forerunners," said Marchionne.