Supplier sources said that the new Giulia midsize sedan from Alfa Romeo will come out this week. By the end of 2017, Alfa Romeo will already have launched three new models as part of a campaign to turn around its fortune. And by 2018, there will be five more vehicles. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne aims to make Alfa Romeo a premium brand and compete with BMW and Audi.
To achieve this goal, he is prepared to spend $6 billion for his plan and finally put a stop to decades of the brand’s poor performance. While this appears to be a tremendous undertaking, there are indications that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ efforts are already gaining traction. The Giulia will be followed with a midsize SUV and flagship sedan.
Alfa Romeo is expected to boost its worldwide sales from 70,000 vehicles in 2014 to 400,000 units by 2018. Of this figure, about 150,000 units are predicted to come from North America. Sources also said that the Giulia will make its debut in Europe in early 2016 and is set to become available in U.S. showrooms between April and June.
A midsize SUV will arrive in late 2016 while a flagship sedan is expected in 2017. The risks are quite overwhelming. Marchionne is relying on the relaunch of Alfa to elevate the group to enable its exit from the very competitive mass-volume market in Europe and to do well in the quick-growing luxury market in the U.S.
The brand has a long and arduous task ahead of it. Analysts say that Alfa Romeo has been bleeding cash much earlier than Marchionne’s arrival in Fiat more than a decade ago. Marchionne announced its major plans for Alfa Romeo in May 2014, including eight new models for the period between 2015 and 2018.
These exclude the low-volume 4C coupe and 4C Spider. Last January, Marchionne unveiled updates. He shared that one model will arrive this year while seven models will be launched sometime between 2016 and 2018. There was no mention of the order they will make their entry.
To enumerate, these eight vehicles are the following: (1) the Giulia that will have its preview this week; (2) a full-size sedan that will be the project 961 flagship; (3) two SUVs, project 949 and a second one that will arrive later; (4) a second midsize model that may be a big coupe; (5) a specialty vehicle that’s likely to be a two-seat roadster; and (6) two compact models, one of which is expected to be the replacement for the Giulietta.
Most of these models will be released in the last three years of the plan that spans five years. Since this plan will end in 2018, some analysts doubt whether Alfa Romeo will be able to achieve its target. IHS Automotive predicts that the brand will achieve sales of around 216,000 cars in 2018.