Currently reading: Alfa Romeo expansion scaled back and delayed
Alfa's new product range planned for 2018 will now not be finalised until 2020; global ambitions and investments also scaled back
Mark Tisshaw
News
3 mins read
27 January 2016

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.

Geneva 2016 update: Alfa Romeo Giulia range revealed ahead of going on sale in the UK

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.

Up first will be a mid-size SUV to rival the likes of the BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport. It’s due in 2016-2017, according to Alfa Romeo.

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.

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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%.

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CPK4201 24 May 2016

Model Roll Out Delay linked to VW dieselgate?

It would not surprise me if FCA were trying to keep the perceived value of Alfa up for the long rumoured possible purchase by VW... FCA trying to play poker and make out they could see a big future for alfa and therefore making lots of big investment promises... Now that VW are heavily bleeding for at least the next few years post dieselgate money for VW group aquisitions is likely in short supply... Plus add to this the fact that SEAT seems to finally be gaining some traction as a young brand for VW... VW now have no room for alfa until after the original proposed launch dates at the earliest (if they still care anymore), so FCA's plan for alfa is delayed another 2 years... And will be delayed again if no suitors come showing early interest to FCA...

Such a shame, I personally love Alfas, I have owned an Alfa 33, Alfa GTV V6, Alfa 156 V6 and a Alfa Guiletta TCT 1.4 Petrol... The Guiletta was a company car which did 60k miles without ever letting me down! It was flawed but better than having the standard Golf/Passat/BMW diesel and cheap as chips on the BIK rate! Great cars all of them!

mvarch 2 February 2016

questionable decisions

after over 25 years of driving Lancia's and, apart from the last Kappa's, enjoying each and every one (I still think the manual Thema is the best car i ever owned) I switched to the 159 manual TBI ,which was, really, a fantastic car. As a result of the Julia being constantly delayed, I (a bit reluctantly) switched to the 2015 Julietta QV, which I have been driving for around 6 months now. Some serious questions arise...Why is a driver's car not manufactured with manual gear shift??? why do I need to cope with the ever annoying TCT? It's true that the shift is swift and almost instant' but the car suffers from a considerable stall in setting off, and worse, in transferring from reverse to forward. nothing can justify the dodgy response in parking on a sloped road when you push the accelerator, and nothing happens, then suddenly, the car leaps forward, or backward... Its annoying to be constantly reminded' that the car is doing what "it" wants rather than what the driver does. plenty of Korean/Jap cars around for those who need the boring Auto/Tiptronic or whatever name they invent for it, transmissions. Why not keep it simple....and fun!!!!
db 31 January 2016

trust and credability

My wife and I test drove a Guilietta when I changed may car last time and we came a way confused by a car that was eminently likable but flawed for our purpose as a family car. We found a car that was a great drive with poor ergonomics and build, creaking seats and dash on a 2000 mile car with seat belts in the rear designed to decapitate our daughter were the final straw!. I along with many others like the idea of an Alfa but need a lot more than misty eyed look back at past glories to get us to sign on the line. Fiat seem hell bent on stretching the 500 brand maybe they could go to 5000! I am not a car exec but does profit not come from selling products at a premium just as M&S Pants do the same job as Ralph Lauren, though to some make their life some how more complete!! The Italian car manufacturers should take a look at their design houses for guidance and follow a cohesive plan to give us all a reason to buy their products.