Alfa Romeo’s dramatic relaunch has been scaled back and delayed, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has revealed.
In a presentation today to investors, FCA delivered an update on Alfa’s relaunch as a maker of lightweight, high-tech and sporty rear-wheel-drive driver’s cars built in Italy and powered by bespoke engines, which was announced to much fanfare in May 2014.
The first of these, the Giulia, was revealed last summer and will be on sale in the UK in September. It was due to be followed by seven more before 2018 as part of a €5 billion (£3.8bn) investment by FCA.
FCA said the “commitment to the overall brand and product strategy remains in place”, but “R&D, manufacturing and product investment [will be] reduced through 2018” and the “planned product line-up will now be completed by mid-2020”.
The previous plan had said all eight new Alfas would be on sale by 2018. There will still be seven Alfas after the Giulia, and a slide in the investor presentation also hinted at the identities of the new models that will be on sale by 2020.
From 2017-2020, there will be a ‘full-size’ model, understood to be a rival to the BMW 5 Series. Also planned are two more ‘UVs’ (for 'utility vehicles'), one likely to be larger than the X3 rival and another smaller. By the end of the decade there will be two more ‘speciality’ models in the vein of the Alfa 4C, although whether these are sports cars, other coupés or other derivatives of existing models is unknown.
Also confirmed by Alfa is a new hatchback. This is set to be a replacement to the Giulietta, spun off a shortened version of the Giulia’s rear-drive chassis. There’s no mention of a Mito replacement, although that car is due an imminent facelift, as is the Giulietta.
The global ambition of the plan has been scaled back to focus on the European and North American markets due to problems in China and the lack of a global distribution network.
FCA pointed to import restrictions in China, wider uncertainties in the Chinese market and the “need to guarantee proper global distribution network execution”.
Also announced in the wider FCA plans to investors was the launch of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from the group from 2016. In 2018 FCA will also have a new 48V electrical architecture in place for mild hybrids, which will help to cut CO2 emissions.
Jeep’s global sales target has also been revised upwards to two million units from 1.9m in the original May 2014 estimate on the back of strong sales of its new model range. FCA also noted the better-than-expected performance of Jeep in Europe, allowing the firm to revise its overall European margins from an expected 2-3% by 2018 to around 4%.