Fiat-Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne plans to transform Alfa Romeo into a stand-alone company as part of efforts to revive the beleaguered brand, people privy with the matter told Automotive News Europe. Sources disclosed that Alfa Romeo will have a publicly disclosed profit and loss statement to ensure that his latest re-launch bid becomes a credible business proposition.
The plan is considered critical for Fiat dealers in the United States – now selling only the Fiat 500 and 500L -- who are expecting to carry Alfa Romeo. Sources told Automotive News Europe that Marchionne is set to announce Alfa Romeo's new status on May 6 when it outlines its five-year product and business plan.
Transforming Alfa Romeo into a global brand is vital part of Marchionne's plan to make Fiat's operations in Europe profitable once again by mid-decade. That transformation will entail a re-launch as backed by introducing new rear-wheel-drive vehicles -- including an SUV – by 2016 to help Alfa Romeo compete better against luxury carmakers like BMW.
High-end versions of the new vehicles will be powered by Ferrari-developed engines. The new plan will be Marchionne's fourth after the first three all failed to achieve set targets. Alfa Romeo delivered just 74,000 cars in 2014 for a 56-percent drop, the lowest sales since the late 1960s.
Sources remarked that Fiat is planning six new models for Alfa Romeo – a compact SUV and mid-sized sedan that will be assembled at Fiat's Cassino site; a large sedan and a large SUV to be produced at the Mirafiori plant in Turin; and a large coupe and a two-seat roadster.
Alfa Romeo will use power its future models with the new Pratola Serra-built 1.75-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine that was featured in the limited-edition 4C coupe.