Alfa Romeo was widely expected to launch a successor to its 159 small sedan next year based on a front-wheel-drive platform (CUSW) currently underpinning the Dodge Dart and destined for a handful of other Fiat Chrysler Group vehicles.

The new small sedan, rumored to be called a Giulia, was said to target the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series and offer buyers the choice of four- and six-cylinder powerplants as well as all-wheel drive.

According to a new report, the Giulia may end up being delayed until 2015 or even later so that it can be developed around a new rear-wheel-drive platform.

Britain’s CAR is reporting that Fiat Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne wants Alfa Romeo’s sedan and sports car models to be based on rear-wheel-drive underpinnings. He is said to be aligning the brand closer with Maserati so that future models will be compared with those from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Alfa Romeo’s existing cars, the MiTo and Giulietta, compete with Volkswagens and other mainstream brands.

Under the radical plans, the MiTo and Giulietta would be dropped so that Alfa Romeo’s  future lineup consisted solely of the 4C sports car, a new convertible sharing a platform with the next Mazda MX-5, a compact crossover, a small SUV, the new Giulia and finally a flagship sedan sharing the platform with the Maserati Ghibli.

For the Giulia, engineers would use a shortened version of the platform underpinning the Ghibli, which itself is a shortened version of the platform found in the Quattroporte. This modular platform is also said to be spawning the next Dodge Challenger and it’s possible it could end up in a Chrysler-badged car, too.

The new Alfa Romeos would also boast engines built by Ferrari.

The goal for Marchionne is to boost Alfa Romeo’s sales from less than 100,000 last year to more than 300,000 in the near future. While this is good news for performance fans, it means more delays and pricier cars.


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