The 159-replacing Giulia will give Alfa another five years to prove it can finally establish itself as a self-supporting car maker. Unless the Giulia range cracks annual sales of 100,000 cars, Alfa itself could reach the end of the line.
In January Fiat Group boss Sergio Marchionne warned that the Alfa division was under close scrutiny. At the Detroit show he told Autocar, “Alfa has been underperforming for a long time.”
But last month Marchionne revealed that Alfa Romeo was to undergo another formal relaunch and get a raft of new models, including a new Spider, to drive its annual global sales up to 500,000 units by the end of 2014.
The range revamp has already started, with the Giulietta replacing the unloved 147 and the GT being lined up for the axe.
Alfa will also return to the American market (with the Giulietta, Giulia and a new Spider) by 2013; Fiat believes the brand should be selling around 85,000 units annually there by the following year.