Alfa Romeo is an accountant’s nightmare at present, building six models based on three different platforms, spread across sales of just 100,000 units.
The outgoing 147 and GT coupe are both based on the unique front-drive platform that underpinned the old Alfa 156. But the 159, Brera and Spider are based on the ‘Premium Platform’ that was developed in conjunction with Saab.
The break-up of GM and Fiat in 2005 meant that Alfa was left with the Premium architecture and producing it in small volumes. This makes the 159, Brera and Spider expensive to build.
There's more financial sense behind the Mito, which is based on the current Fiat Punto. And the new Giulietta is the first model based on the C-Evo platform, which will be used extensively by Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep.
Marchionne has already said that market reaction to the Giulietta, which goes on sale in late spring, is crucial to Alfa’s future. A positive reaction to the car’s sporting credentials is said to be essential.
Fiat bosses will be wary after the shaky press reaction to the Mito. The car was much criticised for its so-so handling and poor steering. However, they have been encouraged by Mito sales in Germany, a market normally immune to Alfa’s charms.
Ultimately, however, if Alfa Romeo isn’t just allowed to slowly wither on the vine after the launch of the Giulietta, the challenge for Wester and Alfa’s management will focus on a credible plan that involves Alfa competing in the 3-series and 5-series sectors, after years of being an also-ran.