Fiat Chrysler CEO says Alfa Romeo SUV coming in 2016 – Detroit Free Press
The second vehicle in the planned Alfa Romeo product assault in North America will be a SUV that will go into production by the middle of next year, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts last week.
The SUV will be one of eight new models the automaker plans to launch by 2018 as it spends $5.6 billion to revive the brand globally. The first of those vehicles — the Giulia sedan — was unveiled last month in Milan, Italy.
The Alfa Romeo plan is designed to turn Fiat’s Italian auto factories into an export hub for Alfa Romeo and Maserati models with higher profit margins than Fiat’s. If successful, the plan will help to boost the profits of the overall company.
Marchionne said the company has already spent nearly 2 billion euro, “that involves effectively the industrialization on the first car, the architecture, the engines and effectively all the prep work in connection with the launch of the second vehicle, which is coming at the end of the first half, beginning of the second half of 2016.”
Marchionne did not reveal the size or the name of the SUV or say where it will be built in Italy. Fiat Chrysler also just began building the Maserati Levante SUV near Turin, Italty, and is expected to go on sale during the first half of 2016.
The automaker’s goal is to boost Alfa Romeo’s global sales to more than 400,000 by 2018. North America is expected to account for about 150,000 of those sales. Most analysts say that is an ambitious goal since Alfa Romeo sold just 74,000 globally in 2013.
Fiat Chrysler CFO Richard Palmer said Production of the Giulia will begin during the fourth quarter of this year. It will go on sale in the U.S. sometime next year.
Marchionne also said the Giorgio architecture used for the Giulia could be used for other rear-wheel-drive models within Fiat Chrysler when the company reported earnings last week.
U.S. dealers have been waiting for the full revival of Alfa Romeo ever since Fiat acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler in 2009. Many dealers opened Fiat dealerships three years ago expecting that Alfa Romeo would arrive sooner.
The Alfa Romeo 4C was introduced in the U.S. late last year, but the tiny sports car is not designed for mass market appeal and is produced in a small volume. Through July, the automaker sold just 295 in the U.S. All of that makes the timing of the introduction of the next Alfa Romeo’s important for both the company and its dealers.
“We are taking a very hard look at the sequencing of the products that we are launching to make sure that we get the biggest bang for the buck from the utilization of the architecture in terms of volumes,” Marchionne said.
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