Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne

Fiat is determined to transform Alfa Romeo into a credible brand capable of competing against the likes of Audi, but currently the automaker only has two aging hatchbacks in its lineup, the MiTo and Giulietta, and the very limited production 4C sports car. Despite the lack of product, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said in 2010 that Alfa Romeo would eventually reach half a million sales by 2014.

That target was lowered to 400,000 sales just a year later, and in 2012, due to ongoing delays in the roll-out of new vehicles, the target was reduced once more to 300,000. In the first nine months of this year, Alfa has only managed about 51,000 sales.  

According to Automotive News (subscription required), a revision to the target will come in spring when Marchionne reveals his fourth revival strategy in nine years for the struggling Alfa Romeo brand.

"We continue to work in a pretty determined fashion in trying to reshape the Alfa Romeo platform and I think we will be in a position to outline more at the end of the first quarter of 2014," Marchionne said during a recent conference call with analysts. He went on to reveal that it will be a new five-year strategy.

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

Underlying the new strategy is believed to be a focus on rear-wheel-drive cars and all-wheel-drive crossovers and SUVs. Back in July, a report emerged suggesting the MiTo and Giulietta will be phased out 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.

According to Automotive News’ sources, engineers are working on a rear-wheel-drive platform with all-wheel-drive capability. They are said to be based at Maserati's headquarters in Modena, Italy, suggesting that the new platform will share much in common with the platform underpinning Maserati’s latest Ghibli and Quattroporte.  

To help spread investment and boost economies of scale, this new platform would eventually be used to underpin replacements for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger as well as the Challenger muscle car. In fact, a Maserati-based platform has already been reported as the basis of the next Challenger and a future Alfa Romeo model.

Unfortunately, the change in direction for Alfa Romeo means we may have to wait until late 2015--at the earliest--to see the first of the new rear-wheel-drive models. The good news is that most, if not all, will be offered in the U.S.


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