Alfa Romeo needs to remain a solely Italian brand as it seeks to relaunch itself for the next phase of the Italian brand’s existence, the company’s boss says.
Speaking to the media at yesterday’s Geneva motor show, Sergio Marchionne, the boss of Fiat Chrysler, confirmed that Alfa Romeo will not build cars outside of Italy as it seeks to reinvent itself as well as learn from and be inspired by its own rich history.
Marchionne suggested that Alfa Romeo will return to solely rear-wheel drive vehicles in the coming years and reassured fans that it be Italian at its core.
“I’m very much of the view that Alfa Romeo needs to remain an Italian brand and it needs to be produced in Italy with Italian produced power trains.” Marchionne said.
So far as the company’s heritage goes, Alfa Romeo belongs to Italy much in the same way as Maserati and Ferrari, Marchionne believes.
“I think it will be a gross mistake, and I mean gross, and I don’t mean big, I mean gross mistake to try and take Alfa away from the [Italian] jurisdiction. I think we need to learn how to get familiar with our roots first, to become part of this framework before we try and look at the outside world as offering opportunities.”
Nonetheless he did acknowledge that building Alfa Romeos outside of Italy was an inevitable fact, but not an event that would take place in the near future.
“[Building Alfa Romeos outside of Italy] is going to happen. I don’t have a doubt that at some point in time in the future it will happen. I can tell you that it will not happen on my watch. I will no longer be the CEO of this house when Alfa looks for production sites outside of Italy.”
Nonetheless he carved out the Alfa Romeo and Mazda partnership – which was for Mazda to build an Alfa Romeo roadster based on the MX-5 – which is now likely to result in a Fiat or Abarth roadster instead.
“Broadly speaking, anything which is coming out of new architectures which are developed by Fiat Chrysler for Alfa, anything which is coming out of powertrains which are specifically designed for the relaunch of Alfa, those things need to go back to their ethnic roots and they need to have a chance to reassert the dominance that Italy used to have in this area for a long period of time and which we have, for a variety of reasons, forgotten. Somehow we got embroiled in a whole pile of other things that made us forget that we’re ultimately in the business of making and selling great cars.”
Alfa Romeo is set to relaunch itself in April-May as it takes on the North American market and begins a push for international expansion.
Fiat-Chrysler will announce plans for their entire range of brands in a much anticipated event held in Detroit in May.