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Alfa Romeo Facing Product Freeze As Brand Comes In For Review Photo:
Mike Stevens | Dec, 02 2009 | 1 Comment

ITALIAN CARMAKER Alfa Romeo could see new investment frozen by owner Fiat, after CEO Sergio Marchionne ordered a strategic review of the money-losing brand this week.

With years of losses and declining sales behind it, Alfa could also find its line-up refreshed with Chrysler platforms replacing the ageing Alfa 159 and the retired 166.

Alfa Romeo has lost between 300 million and 650 million dollars each year for the past 10 years, sources told Automotive News Europe this week.

In 2008, Alfa sold 103,000 new cars, compared to 203,000 in 2000.

Marchionne is believed to be investigating Fiat's options for its sporty premium brand, concerned that the struggling Alfa has been given too many chances already.

"We need to stop doing it. You cannot be a newborn Christian every four years. It's the same religion, eventually you need to own a religion and carry it to conclusion," Mr Marchionne told Automotive News Europe.

"We need to work a lot harder on Alfa to make an intelligent decision that effectively preserves the highest possible value to Fiat."


One option for Alfa is to replace the 159 and 166 with Chrysler-based sedans built in North America, with styling unique to Alfa.

"Certainly the availability of D and E segment (platforms) in the United States which are capable of being Alfa Romeoized is there. We need to look at the economics of that opportunity," Marchionne said.

Another option Marchionne is believed to be exploring is to freeze investment in new models beyond the upcoming successor to the 147, leaving the new hatch and the smaller MiTo as Alfa's only brand-new models for the immediate future.

The 159, Brera, Spider and GT would continue to be produced for as long as there is demand in the market.

Marchionne told Automotive News Europe he is pleased with the Mito and the successor to the 147 (expected to be named Giulietta), which is due in March 2010.

These two new products "are going to do a lot in advancing the DNA and the quality of the (Alfa) brand," he said.

Read TMR's review of the Alfa Romeo Brera here.

Read TMR's review of the Alfa Romeo MiTo here.

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