If you’re waiting for a new Alfa Romeo -- other than an 8C -- to arrive stateside, we wouldn’t advise holding your breath. A recent interview between the Telegraph and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne casts some serious doubt on the plan.
European Alfa sales have fallen dramatically in recent times, with a slow-to-evolve lineup plagued with old platforms and designs. Fiat execs are currently mulling over what direction to take with the brand, while sister brand Lancia seems destined to join with Chrysler.
“Alfa has been underperforming in Europe for a long period,” Marchionne said recently in Detroit. “The most difficult part of the Fiat turnover is the management of Alfa. We have failed to deliver on its promise."
Marchionne denies that a similar tie-up to the Chrysler/Lancia plan is in store for Alfa.
“Alfa is not for sale and we are not looking for partners,” Marchionne said. “It is our problem and the issue is how to arrange it going forward.”
According to the Telegraph, Alfa has dropped from 207,000 sales in 2001 to 103,000 in 2009. Marchionne had planned to boost Alfa sales to 300,000 by 2011, though that goal currently seems a bit too optimistic.
The newest model in the Alfa pipeline is the small five-door Giulietta, designed to replace the aging 147. The Guilietta will be launched this spring in Europe, following a world debut at the 2010 Geneva motor show in March. We were hoping to get a timeline for a U.S. launch around the same time, but that is likely to be pushed back until Fiat bosses monitor European sales of the sporty hatchback. The Giulietta’s new platform is reported to form the basis for a variety of upcoming Alfa models.
“It will take a year,” said Marchionne regarding the amount of time needed to form a verdict on a U.S. return. “We need to develop alternative ideas in case we don’t return to America.”