Another day, another delay in Alfa Romeo’s plans to come to the United States. Automotive News reports that the company will announce yet another new product roadmap on October 30th. The last update from Fiat a year ago stated that the 4C would lead the brand’s return to the U.S late this year.
That plan is out the window now. Alfa Romeo was first scheduled to come to the United States over 10 years ago, when Fiat was a partner with General Motors. That didn’t work out, and since then Fiat has talked about reentering. Now the U.S makes up a key part of Alfa’s future. Marchionne has a personal interest in reviving Alfa Romeo as a true luxury brand, rather than a big player. So far though, we haven’t seen much results.
The MiTo and Giulietta helped push global Alfa Romeo sales to around 130,000 last year, but that is a far cry from the company’s 400,000 unit goal by 2014 (which was cut by 100,000) already. There is next to no chance Alfa Romeo will sell 400,000 units globally by 2014. Saving Alfa is particularly important, as the Fiat Group needs a thriving luxury brand to provide higher margins and shoulder research and development costs. Over the past few years we’ve heard dates thrown around about Alfa Romeo’s imminent return. Marchionne’s penchant for perfectionism has delayed this though.
Multiple design iterations of the new mid-size sedan have been rejected, pushing the launch further back. Unfortunately, AN also reports that the Alfa’s rear-wheel drive sedan has been rejected. What’s going on with Alfa? It hasn’t been managed well. Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand proclaims serious interest over and over, only to be rebuffed by Marchionne. He says they have a plan, but it isn’t looking like much of one right now. More details will be released October 30th, but we don’t have any confidence in dates the company will announce.