While Wester said fully autonomous technology from the FCA group (including Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo and Maserati) can’t be expected any sooner than 2024, he emphasised that the current aim was to establish the Giulia range in the market, with a Tesla Model S Autopilot-style system currently in development for the compact executive.
He added that he believes the adoption of autonomous vehicles will aid the resurgence of proper driver’s cars in the future.
Talking at the launch of the Giulia, Wester said: “I am absolutely convinced that once fully autonomous vehicles are established, the more people will appreciate driving on a road free of traffic and enjoy driving their car again.
“Then it will be as important as ever to produce a car which elicits a huge amount of driving emotions.”
He also took the opportunity to share Alfa’s approach to autonomous technology, by adding: “From my side, this is going to be one area we will develop extensively, and it will become an indispensable part of the automotive industry.
"We have been asked several times whether such technology is in contrast with a brand like Alfa Romeo. I think the opposite is correct.
“We all know the situation, whether you live in London or Milan. You go to work in the morning and very quickly you find yourself in a sequence of stopping and starting, and it is a real waste of time and energy. In the future we will start to give you that time back so you can spend it better."
Talking about the new Giulia, Wester said: “This new compact saloon was make or break for Alfa’s future development. The Alfa Romeo group is now concentrating on developing the brothers and sisters of this first baby.
“We pushed the reset button and spent €1 billion in this architecture and a significant amount of money in the first application of the Giulia.
“We are going to spend many more billions to develop the rest. And obviously the credibility of the programme depends very much on this car, the architecture and its commercial success."