Abarth and Maserati CEO takes over the same role at Alfa Romeo
28 January 2010

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has tasked new Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester with bringing the brand closer to Abarth and Maserati.

Wester, who is already CEO of Abarth and Maserati, was given the Alfa role last week and Marchionne wants Wester to identify synergies between the three brands under his control.

“The purpose of bringing the Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands under the same leadership is to emphasise and leverage the value of the shared qualities of the three brands in terms of their sporting characteristics and performance,” he said.

“Harald Wester, who has demonstrated his enormous commitment on several fronts and achieved optimum results, will bring strong leadership capabilities and solid technical experience and know-how to this project.”

Wester has taken the Alfa top job from Sergio Cravero, who becomes Fiat’s product and concept car planner.

Alfa Romeo is currently under strategic review and Fiat will reveal the outcome in the spring. The worst case scenario for Alfa Romeo would be a freeze on development after the launch of the Giulietta.

“Alfa has been underperforming for a long time,” Marchionne told Autocar at the Detroit motor show. “It has been the most difficult part of Fiat’s recovery, even though on paper it looks so attractive. The marque isn’t for sale or anything like that.

“It’s our problem. But we do have to rethink our objectives and be realistic with ourselves before we do anything else.

“First, I want to see how well we do launching the Giulietta. From the technical point of view it’s a huge step forward, but I want to see how it fares. And I want to see how we can take advantage of that through the company.”

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28 January 2010

Well - luckily the text of the report is slightly different to the fear I had when I read the headline! The main thing is that they have the same leadership team - they will share expertise etc. Luckily I've seen no mention of dropping any of the three brands (yet), nor having them enter in to badge engineering of any sort. Otherwise it'd be such a shame for the Abarth brand having made a decent comeback to be sacrificed for Alfa etc.

28 January 2010

Thats now new news, it was released on the 22nd, keep up Autocar!

Having three smaller brands under the same leadership is probably a good thing and as the onlydt says, it would be a shame if one of the brands was sacrificed, which probably would have happened without this move.

Now they need proper objectives and direction and a good launch of the Giulietta

28 January 2010

MArchionne is so negative, never seen a head of an organisation try to kick his own product in the teeth so much.

Abarth is not a brand, merely a tuning company.

28 January 2010

I'd have to politely disagree on that one - they (Abarth) made ethere own besoke vehicles and were very successful in their day - admittedly largely back in the 60's.

However, I'd definitely agree that the Abarth 'brand' has woefully lost it's way over the years and even the recent relaunch looks to me as though there is a lot more smoke than fire - Abarths don't have plastic engine covers for example... For me the last real Abarth was the 131, with a possible nod to the Strada 130tc of the late 80's, but after that... "pear shaped" doesn't begin to describe it.

For me Abarth has to do a similar thing to Renault Sport and keep bringing out better and faster versions of their products - and these products need to be good - damn good. Abarth's should be stripped out products, with lightness added and (to some extent)unique engines and running gear. If Harald thinks he can create an Abarth brand by just plastering scorpions all over a Punto Turbo, he'd best think again, the game has moved on.

So Harald - please lets have a 'real' Abarth tweaked version of that 1750 turbo unit shoe-horned into a Punto with silly recaros, plastic rear seats, a sticky diff, an exhaust note that scares children and handling twitchy enough to put the fear of god into an Autocar Roadtester... I dare you.

28 January 2010

Good call challenger400, I think you're bang on the money there!

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