Alfa Romeo Shifting its Focus; Shreds Plans for Larger Roadster
Italian automaker is putting a premium on sales above everything elseby Kirby Garlitos, on
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles once had big plans for Alfa Romeo as it saw massive potential in the once-proud Italian automaker. That may still be true today, but in light of the sales struggles of the 4C Spider and the subsequent reports that Alfa was scrapping a successor for the model, the Italian brand is once again on the verge of another major product reshuffle with the company turning its focus on the Giulia midsize sedan, the Stelvio crossover, and a larger crossover that will compete against the likes of the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7.
Lost in the new plans are successors to both the variants of the 4C, as well as a bigger roadster that was supposed to share in the Giulia’s powertrains, and a flagship sedan that was being billed as a possible rival to the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6. A compact model to succeed the Alfa Giulietta is still under consideration but there’s been no indication on which side FCA brass is leaning on.
So for now, the company will set its sights on promoting the business out of the Giulia and all of its derivatives, including the 503-horsepower Quadriofoglio, and the Stelvio midsize crossover. The Giulia is expected to arrive in the U.S. at the tail end of the year and the Stelvio has been tapped to make its long-awaited debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in preparation for a release in the early part of 2017. A coupe version of the Giulia is also in the pipeline as is a bigger SUV, which will share its underpinnings with the Stelvio.
The new product timetable is a good sign that FCA isn’t prepared to throw in the towel with Alfa Romeo. On the flip side, it also shows that the automaker’s margin for error is getting thinner by the day.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
The price that’s paid in pursuit of the bottom line
It’s hard to blame FCA for taking this new approach with Alfa Romeo. Sure, it sucks that we’re not getting the promised performance models, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom line and the best way to do that today is going the route of crossovers and SUVs.
Unfortunately, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider’s lukewarm sales response played a part in this shift in priorities. The automaker knew from the start that it wouldn’t light the company’s sales on fire so it didn’t set a high bar for the sports car. But even with the lowered expectations, the 4C Spider failed to deliver, which likely forced FCA to reconsider its priorities. As such, successors for the coupe and spider models are not happening and worse, the planned roadster that a lot of people, myself included, was excited about, is getting the proverbial can too.
That’s the really sad part about this whole thing. That roadster was supposed to be Alfa Romeo’s shot at a legitimate performance model that could have taken the industry by storm. Details were scant from the beginning, but there were rumors that it would carry the same engine options as the Giulia, one that would’ve included the Ferrari-built 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that produces in excess of 500 horsepower. Judging by how the Giulia Quadriofoglio is making the headlines these days – it just became the fastest sedan in the Nürburgring with a time of seven minutes and 39 seconds, walloping the previous record set by the Porsche Panamera Turbo S in 2011, by 13 seconds – the prospect of a roadster model getting that kind of power and performance was exciting to say the least.
But we’re not going to see that anymore, at least not in the near future. All because FCA is prioritizing the bottom line over anything else, as well it should.
Source: Automotive News