Hot on the heels of news that Maserati will be launching a new SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee
in 2013 comes confirmation that Alfa Romeo will also get its own Jeep-based SUV, a key model in the Italian brand’s return to the U.S. market
The confirmation comes from the highest source, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. Speaking recently with Bloomberg
, Marchionne revealed that Alfa Romeo and Jeep will launch two separate mid-size SUVs based on a common platform. For Jeep, the new model will replace the current Compass and Patriot.
Both the Alfa Romeo and Jeep SUVs will be built at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, which will be upgraded at a cost of more than $1.3 billion. The move is part of a greater plan that will see Fiat-Chrysler spend close to $30 billion between now and 2014 in upgrading factories and vehicle centers in Italy in exchange for union concessions on work rules.
The underpinnings for both vehicles are expected to be based on a revised version of the modular Compact-Wide platform that will also spawn the Giulia sedan, the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 159--yet another model to be built at the upgraded Mirafiori plant. Key rivals for the Alfa Romeo SUV will be the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, all models benchmarked by Fiat-Chrysler engineers.
The new SUVs will arrive on the market by the fourth quarter of 2012, which also suggests that the Alfa Romeo brand will be back in the U.S. very soon
Pictured above is the 2003 Alfa Romeo Kamal Concept, which shows a possible design direction for the new Italian-influenced SUV and proves that such a model has been on the cards for quite some time now.