Alfa's Revised Plan Focuses On New Rwd/Awd Architecture
4 December 2013 - Automotive News
The revised Alfa Romeo plan that Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce next April focuses on a new, still unnamed rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive architecture. A key aim of the new plan is to boost Alfa's global presence.
"With our current segment coverage and our geographical footprint, we compete in about 5 percent of the global market," Alfa's European boss, Louis-Carl Vignon, said in an interview. He wants the brand to compete in 32 percent of the global market by 2016.
Alfa said that its revised plan is "top secret" and refused to comment on individual models to Automotive News Europe. However, the following is what industry and supplier sources say Alfa is currently considering.
Giulia: Originally due in 2014 and planned to share its underpinnings with the redesigned Chrysler 200, which debuts next year, the Giulia project would switch to the new rwd/awd architecture and debut in late 2015 at the earliest. Alfa is considering building the Giulias and other models based on its new architecture at its plant in Cassino, central Italy.
Large sedan: Last year Alfa began working on a rear-drive large sedan. As a derivative of the Maserati Ghibli, the Alfa flagship was intended for launch by the end of 2014. This summer Alfa shelved the idea of using Maserati's underpinnings – regarded as too expensive for Alfa – in favor of the new rwd/awd platform. The sedan is likely to debut alongside the new Giulia at a time yet to be announced.
Mid-sized coupe: The new architecture could underpin a coupe to rival models such as the BMW 4 series.
Large coupe: Alfa is considering a large coupe to rival the BMW 6 series, possibly using the underpinnings of the next-generation Maserati GranTurismo coupe due in 2016. Alfa has not had a large coupe in the post-WWII period.
Roadster: Alfa plans to offer an heir to the legendary Duetto Spider driven by Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate." Mazda will build a two-seat roadster for Alfa at its factory in Hiroshima, Japan. Due in 2015, this will be a variant of the redesigned rear-drive MX-5/Miata, although each model with have its own distinct styling and engines. Alfa will use a beefed-up version of its 170hp 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo-gasoline unit.
4C coupe: At the end of October Alfa delivered the first five units of its 4C coupe to European customers. Shipments to Asia will follow in the first quarter of 2014 and North America in the second quarter. The car starts at 53,000 euros. Alfa plans to build 3,500 units a year, with 1,000 destined for Europe, 1,200 to 1,500 for North America, the rest for Asia.
4C Spider: Alfa plans a 4C roadster version, dubbed 4C Spider. It will have an easy-to-remove carbon fiber roof and is expected to debut at the Geneva show next March.
Compact crossover: Alfa is said to be planning its first compact crossover, to be derived from the single model that replaces the Jeep Compass and Patriot. The timing of an Alfa variant is unclear.
Mid-sized SUV: Alfa had been considering a sibling model to the redesigned Jeep Cherokee for some time. The original plan was for the Alfa variant to be built in the United States and to go on sale about a year after the new Jeep. Latest reports suggest this mid-sized SUV could be switched to the new rwd/awd architecture and be built in Cassino.
Large SUV: Alfa seems to be considering once again a large SUV, this time based on the Maserati Levante premium large SUV to be built at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin. The Levante is due in early 2015 and the Alfa variant could follow about 18 months later.
MiTo: Due to Europe's sales slump, Alfa canceled plans for a five-door variant of the Europe-only three-door MiTo. Its eventual replacement will be relocated from the Mirafiori plant, which is now being converted to build large premium vehicles for Maserati and Alfa.
Giulietta: Alfa's best-selling model has just received a mild face-lift and a better navigation system in the 2014 model launched at the Frankfurt auto show last September. The car is due for a redesign in 2016.