The full-scale revival of Alfa Romeo has been throttled back. Initially a key part of Fiat Chrysler’s five-year plan with five new models planned for release between 2015 and 2018, the brand’s rebirth is now facing lengthy delays.
The sole model to keep its original schedule, the Giulia sedan, has already been shown in high-performance QV guise and will go into production in Italy in March this year.
The new timeframe announced by Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, reschedules Alfa Romeo’s model onslaught to occur between 2017 and 2020.
Following that the model mix will include a large sedan to square off against the likes of Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF, a pair of SUV’s to bookend the medium-sized model, and a pair of ‘specialty’ vehicles, likely to be sports cars.
A new compact rear wheel drive Giulietta hatch will be the last model on the list. Based on the Giulia’s platform the new model will put performance and handling ahead of packaging, leaving the mooted Cadillac compact sedan as its sole RWD rival, with BMW rumoured to move the 1 Series to a front wheel drive platform in its next generation.
The company has described uncertainties in the Chinese market as one of the factors affecting the new model push, with FCA instead shifting its focus (and investment) to Europe, the Middle East, and the brand’s North American relaunch instead.
Following the reveal of the Giulia last year Fiat Chrysler Australia CEO, Pat Dougherty, outlined the desire to spin Alfa Romeo dealers into a stand-alone luxury network.
It is so far unclear how the scaled-back product offensive, and delayed investment in Alfa Romeo will affect that plan.