Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Now What?

Courtesy of Racer.com

The Alfa Romeo brand's future has been placed under review by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

With Alfa sales dropping and the Italian brand losing money, Marchionne is weighing up freezing all investment in the brand or refreshing its lineup using Chrysler platforms to replace the 159 and discontinued 166.

"We need to work a lot harder on Alfa to make an intelligent decision that effectively preserves the highest possible value to Fiat," Marchionne told Automotive News Europe.

Marchionne also stressed the need to adopt – and stick to – a long-term strategy with Alfa, in order to turn it into a profitable company, citing the company's numerous reinventions in recent years.

"We need to stop doing it. You cannot be a newborn Christian every four years. It's the same religion, eventually you need to own a religion and carry it to conclusion," said Marchionne.

Outlining Alfa's options, Marchionne said Alfa could replace the 159 and 166 with sedans built in North America on Chrysler platforms, but unique to Alfa and sold by Alfa worldwide.

"Certainly the availability of D and E segment (platforms) in the United States which are capable of being Alfa Romeo-ized is there. We need to look at the economics of that opportunity," Marchionne said.

Alternatively, investment in the brand could be frozen following the launch of the 147 replacement, which is now expected to be called the Giulietta. That would leave Alfa with the Giulietta and the Mito as its only fresh models, with the 159, Brera Coupe, Spider and GT coupe continuing to be sold.

Last year, Alfa sold 103,000 new cars compared with 203,000 in 2000. The brand has lost between 200 million and 400 million euros ($300m-$600m) a year in the past 10 years, according to reports.

Marchionne, who ruled out merging Alfa and Dodge,is expected to announce the future of Alfa early next year.

Source: Autocar

No comments: