Alfa Romeo will fight for its future with the launch of eight new models between 2015 and 2018 at a cost of 5 billion Euros ($7.5 billion).
New vehicles for the loss-making, Fiat-owned brand will include long-awaited SUVs, small cars, a ‘specialty’ car and replacements for the 159 medium car and 169 large car.
Alfa Romeo boss Harald Wester also confirmed at a Fiat Chrysler investor event overnight that the models would be based on new rear-wheel/all-wheel-drive architecture dubbed ‘Giorgio’.
The plans mean the axe will fall on the MiTo city car (below) – just one of four models currently offered by Alfa along with the Giulietta hatchback and 4C coupe and Spider twins.
Two C-segment (small car) body styles are scheduled between 2016 and 2018. It’s not clear whether the Giulietta name will be retained for a model that will switch from the current front-wheel-drive layout to rear drive.
The new Alfa Romeo Giulia, which will replace the 159 to take on the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, could debut in Cloverleaf performance form in late 2015, interpreting the model plan. This would be followed by regular versions from 2016, including variants that could include a wagon. The Giulia name is also not guaranteed to make it to showrooms.
A 169 replacement to take on the 5 Series and E-Class is set for 2016-2018, though bigger news is two SUVs penciled in for the same timeframe.
Alfa Romeo has been plotting to enter the hugely popular high-riding-wagon segment since it unveiled the Kamal concept in 2003 (main image). The SUVs will reportedly be a mid-size version sized between the BMW X3 and X5, and a large SUV that will be important for the US market the brand needs to crack.
A U-turn means a planned Alfa twin to the upcoming, next-generation Mazda MX-5 will now become a Fiat. A halo model of some kind is in the pipeline, however.
Alfa’s model range will be covered by five engines, comprising two petrol four-cylinders, one petrol six-cylinder and diesels in four-cylinder and six-cylinder form.
The six-cylinder petrol engine will be capable of about 375kW of power. Industry journal Automotive News recently claimed Ferrari-developed V6s would be used to power high-end variants of new Alfa Romeo models.
Wester said Alfa had lived up to its styling reputation with models such as the Brera, 159 and Spider in recent years, but not the brand’s DNA. Alfa says part of maintaining its DNA will be to build its new cars and engines in Italy.
Development of the new architectures aimed to be “best in class” will primarily be the responsibility of a skunkworks division, to be led by two senior personnel from Ferrari and to comprise more than 600 engineers by 2015.
Alfa Romeo sold just 74,000 vehicles in 2013 but is targeting 400,000 by 2018.