Alfa Romeo is on the final stage of development for its first sports utility vehicle, which might be unveiled next year, people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. The compact SUV, codenamed Project 949, and a midsize sedan bound to be rolled out this year, are both based on rear-wheel-drive technology dubbed “Giorgio,” which has been developed by an engineering team led by former Ferrari managers.
The sources disclosed that the SUV would be assembled at the Cassino site near Rome. Basing the two vehicles on similar technology would allow Fiat Chrysler cost costs, considering that a development of new model costs about $1 billion while less than $300 million in needed when adapting existing technology, according to Fiat Chrysler chief executive Marchionne last year.
The SUV will be the first model to offer a new diesel V-6 engine that is part of the Alfa’s new high performance engine range. The carmaker is planning to unveil the new sedan -- referred to as Giulia -- on June 24 at the Alfa Romeo museum outside Milan to celebrate the brand’s 105-year anniversary.
The compact SUV and the midsize sedan are crucial part of Fiat‘s plan to transform Alfa Romeo into a luxury brand that could take on BMW and Audi.
Marchionne is planning invest EUR5 billion ($5.9 billion) to overhaul Alfa Romeo, including the introduction of eight new models by 2018 -- including two SUVs – as the brand seeks to hike sales more than fivefold to 400,000 cars.