Cars that have you thinking there's no recession are one of the major attractions at the Geneva motor show, the Rolls-Royce Wraith and LaFerrari among them.

What's interesting to hear, however, is how Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne plans to rejuvenate Alfa Romeo.

This is not the first time he has attempted a revival, and the challenge looks as mountainous as ever — how Fiat plans to elevate Alfa to the level of the German premium three, in product terms at least, is intriguing to learn.

Future Alfa Romeos will have three core characteristics, says Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne. "First, design. Second, the light-weighting of vehicles and third, unique powertrain solutions. And we have met the target with the 4C," he says. America is the priority, the 4C to spearhead the reintroduction of the brand which departed in 1995.

Marchionne dismisses criticism that previous Alfa US revival plans have come to nothing by saying that "they never got executed". It will be different this time because of Chrysler, which provides a near-instant dealer network and platform-sharing opportunities that provide the foundation for long-term viability. "It couldn’t have been done before – the baseline investment would have exceeded the revenue," he commented.