Fiat Chrysler has confirmed that the roll out of much of Alfa Romeo’s new model push, centred around a rear-wheel drive platform shared with the Giulia sedan, has been delayed.
During an earnings call today, the company presented a new product roadmap for Alfa Romeo. Mirroring earlier comments by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne, the company cited “uncertainties in China” regarding its slowing economic growth, as well as the country’s taxes for fully imported vehicles, as the key driver for the changes.
Instead the brand will shift its focus to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. For the new economic reality, Alfa Romeo will see reduced investment in research and development, manufacturing, and new products through until 2018.
In 2014, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) announced that it would invest 5 billion euros ($7.7 billion) to turn Alfa Romeo into a serious global luxury competitor with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in its sights. The 2014 roadmap called for eight new models by 2018, most of which would be based on a new rear- and all-wheel drive architecture.
The first model in the storied marque’s product onslaught, the 3 Series-chasing Giulia sedan was unveiled last year in top-spec Quadrifoglio trim.
Under today’s revised plan, the Giulia will go into production this year, followed by a mid-size SUV most likely in 2017. A 5-Series-sized sedan, two further SUVs, two speciality vehicles, and a hatchback are now slated to arrive some time by mid-2020, although no concrete details were provided.
The company also announced a realignment of its production mix in the North American market, with capacity being given to the Jeep brand and the Ram pickup range, at the expense of sedan output — most likely the underperforming Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200.
Mitsubishi currently supplies the Mirage sedan to Dodge for sale in Mexico, while the Triton is very clearly the basis for the company’s new Fullback ute. The tie-up with Mazda has so far yielded the Fiat 124 Spider, a rebodied and re-engined version of the MX-5.