Alfa Romeo will rejig the details of its ambitious relaunch plans due to the weakness of the Chinese economy.
Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat Chrysler (FCA), told Automotive News that a prolonged weakness in the imported luxury vehicle market in the world’s most populous nation has caused the company to alter its strategy for the marque.
Despite the downturn in China, Marchionne told the industry publication that the company is not revising down its target of 400,000 annual sales for Alfa Romeo by 2018. Last year, the brand sold just under 70,000 cars.
The outspoken boss said that while Alfa Romeo “still belongs in China”, the market wouldn’t be able to meet the company’s initial predictions.
Instead, the company now believes that North America and Europe will be able to take up the slack. To help out, FCA will revise Alfa Romeo’s launch schedule, so that models more likely to find favour in the US or Europe will be prioritised.
In 2014, Fiat Chrysler announced that it would invest around 5 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in an aggressive plan to transform Alfa Romeo into a serious competitor to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi with up to eight new models, the majority of which will be based on a new rear-wheel drive platform.