Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] CEO Sergio Marchionne is notorious for setting goals that end up being pushed back, particularly in the case of the struggling Alfa Romeo brand. So new reports of two upcoming Alfas being delayed don’t come as much of a surprise.
Automotive News (subscription required), citing sources, is reporting that new Giulia Quadrifoglio as well as the second model in Alfa Romeo’s eight-car brand renaissance (meant to be a small SUV) are being delayed. Reasons for the delay of the Giulia Quadrifoglio are said to be refinement of vehicle safety and ride characteristics.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, revealed in June, was due out in Europe this year while the SUV was due to go on sale in the old continent by next summer. It’s now thought the 510-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio will arrive in European showrooms next summer with the regular versions landing in late 2016. The SUV is said to have been pushed back to early 2017. Respective launches in the United States are expected to trail the European launches by 3-6 months.
If the reports prove accurate, it’s almost certain Alfa Romeo will miss the (over)ambitious target of 400,000 unit sales by 2018, as previously set by Marchionne. Another major headwind is the slowdown in China, which last month Marchionne said would require a re-examination of FCA’s strategy for Alfa. The good news is that a planned 5 billion euro ($5.43 billion) investment in the brand for its eight new models will go ahead, though instead of 2018 the completion date will now likely be 2019 or 2020.
Not including the limited production 4C sports car, Alfa Romeo’s lineup consists of just two small hatchbacks and its global footprint is very small compared to its German rivals. Last year the brand managed to move just 68,000 units.