The Alfa Romeo Tonale won’t enter production until early in 2022, with its planned launch later this year pushed back by several months.
A report from Automotive News Europe suggests the delay is the result of new CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato demanding better performance from the plug-in hybrid version of the new small SUV.
The Frenchman was put in charge of the brand in January this year following the merger of parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) with the PSA Group, creating the new multinational Stellantis.
He was previously the boss of Peugeot and was credited with taking the manufacturer from near-bankruptcy to a highly profitable position.
The Tonale was revealed for the first time at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in the form of a concept, and images of a production-ready model leaked in October that year.
It will use the same platform as that of the Jeep Compass. Plug-in hybrid variants of the off-roader are powered by a 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine and an electric motor, with available outputs of 187bhp and 237bhp. Using an 11.4kWh battery, its electric-only driving range amounts to 30 miles.
The Compass 4xe has been on sale in left-hand-drive markets for some time but won’t arrive in the UK in the latter stages of 2021. Production will shift from India to the Alfa Romeo plant in Melfi, Italy, this summer.
“We're boosting the level of electrification,” Alfa Romeo said. “The Tonale will be the first milestone in the future of Alfa Romeo, and we want to be on the market with the most updated electrified offer, leveraging on the Stellantis technology and know-how. Our teams in Pomigliano are strongly working to update the production line.”
The Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV are the only vehicles Alfa Romeo makes at present after the Giulietta hatchback was axed from its line-up last year.
The Tonale will be the company’s first new car since the Stelvio was launched in 2016. The Giulia entered production a year earlier.