Alfredo Altavilla is facing a number of overwhelming challenges as chief of Fiat's Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Among the challenges include carrying out the vision laid out by Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne to transform the core Fiat brand from a mass-market brand into a profitable marque that sells models based on the 500 and Panda minicars.
The 49-year executive also have to make Fiat's European operations reach breakeven by 2015-2016, following a forecast EUR700 million operating loss this year. Altavilla also needs to successfully re-launch Alfa Romeo, following botched attempts to revive the sporty brand. He also needs to reduce Lancia to a niche brand based on the Ypsilon subcompact car and rebadged large cars from Chrysler imported from North America.
This may be the easiest among the challenges set, since shrinking Lancia to the Ypsilon model is a reality check and would not likely take much of Altavilla's time. Lancia sells 80 percent of its volume in its home market in Italy, and six out of 10 Lancias sold are Ypsilons. But the challenge of reviving Alfa Romeo could prove to be difficult for Altavilla as the brand needs new vehicles to boost sales, but is not expected to have a new volume product before 2015.
Alfa Romeo currently sells two models -- the MiTo subcompact car and the Giulietta compact -- and its volume is expected to be less than 100,000 units. What is expected to arrive next year is the low-volume 4C roadster. Worse, rivals like Audi and BMW are expanding their product range and delivers more vehicles in a month than Alfa builds in a year.