Fiat-Chrysler CEO plans new strategy to revive Alfa Romeo

Article by Anita Panait, on November 4, 2013

Fiat-Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne has vowed to take on a new strategy to revive the struggling Alfa Romeo brand -- the fourth in nine years. He said that they continue to work "in a pretty determined fashion" in trying to reshape the Alfa Romeo platform. He added that they would outline more at the end of the first quarter of 2014. Alfa's return to the retail market in United States is considered key to achieving Marchionne's sales targets for the premium brand.  

The Alfa 4C sports coupe was expected to arrive in the US by the end of 2013, but it has been delayed until at least next summer. Other questions also remained unanswered like who would be carrying the retail of the Alfa 4C as well as other Alfa offerings. The 4C could be retailed through the Maserati dealership network affiliated with Fiat, but it only has fewer than 70 dealers in the US. The 4C could also be retailed through the Fiat brand network affiliated with Chrysler, which has about 210 dealerships across the US.

Making Alfa profitable is a vital part of Marchionne's bid to turn around Fiat Group, which recently revised downward its profit target for 2013 due to its incessant losses in Europe and slumping sales in Brazil. During a conference call with analysts, Marchionne remarked that it would announce a new five-year strategy for Fiat Group and Chrysler in 2014, most likely in April in time for the carmakers' first-quarter earnings report.

Fiat recently disclosed that its full-year trading profit -- earnings before interest, taxes and one-time gains or costs -- will fail to hit an earlier forecast by up to 13 percent. The carmaker now expects to post a full-year trading profit of between EUR3.5 billion to EUR3.8 billion, lower than the previous call of between EUR4 billion to EUR4.5 billion.

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