To help quell Alfa Romeo’s losses and lower development costs, Fiat will merge three of its sportiest brands -- Abarth, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati -- into one single brand group.
Fiat believes it can identify possible synergies between the three marques, and, as a result, help lower production and development costs for new products. As of now, Alfa Romeo and Maserati only share one platform, which underpins both the Alfa Romeo 8C Competitzione and Maserati Gran Turismo. Abarth and Alfa, however, both make use of Fiat’s SCCS platform -- it underpins both the Punto Abarth and MiTo, respectively.
If anything, the move may help Alfa Romeo stem its perpetual fiscal losses. According to sources, the brand has lost between €200 and €400 million ($281 and $566 million) a year for the last ten years. Fiat is reportedly considering two options for the brand: either freezing investment in new models (which could lead to a slow demise for Alfa), or using Chrysler platforms to create replacements for the aging 159 and 166 models. A strategic review is due to be completed by mid-April.
It seems Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has some hope for the brand under the merger, however, as he speaks highly of the man charged with leading the group -- Harald Wester.
“Wester, who has demonstrated his enormous commitment on several fronts and achieved optimum results, will bring strong leadership capabilities and solid technical experience and know-how to this project,” Marchionne said in a statement.
Wester was previously the CEO of Maserati and Abarth, and the chief technical officer at Fiat Group. Alfa Romeo’s current CEO, Sergio Cravero, is now the head of product concept and portfolio planning at Fiat Group Automobiles.
Source: Automotive News