Alfa Romeo to start SUV production at the beginning of 2016 image

Engines and underpinnings to be shared with Giulia.

The Italians from Alfa Romeo are ready with the preparation work for the first SUV – and according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, the second model after the Giulia midsize sedan will hit production at the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 2016.

“All the preparation work” Sergio Marchionne announced during a conference call last week.

“Alfa’s plan is progressing as we told you it will go,” he said.

Code-named project 949, Alfa’s first SUV will enter in direct competition with Audi’s Q5, BMW X3 and the new Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class – will be based on Giulia’s architecture and is expected to be available at the dealers from September or October 2016. United States is on the table – with a possible launch scheduled 3 months after the vehicle will hit European markets.

Marchionne said that the company spent already 2 billion euros out of a total of 5 billion euros allocated by parent company FCA for the brand’s revamp. Most of the money were spent to develop the Giorgio rear-wheel-drive platform used by the Giulia, new powertrains and additional production startup costs.

So far there were no real spy images showing the upcoming SUV  in its real body – most of the images that were taken are just test mules of the Fiat 500L.

The automaker plans to sell about 400,000 vehicles / year by the end of 2018 ( from 70,000 last year ). At this moment Alfa is selling just two models – the MiTo and Giulietta subcompact – and it also has the 4C sports car.