Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is embarking on a massive quest – reestablish Alfa Romeo as a luxury brand – and the crucial endeavor will be a test to the abilities of merger-prone chief executive Sergio Marchionne.
Later on today the company is going to launch the first Alfa Romeo car part of the key turnaround plan – the success of the model might become a crucial development of the strategy and also could lure a cash-rich tie-up partner for FCA. The 105-year-old Alfa brand is Marchionne’s bet that FCA will be able to establish itself as a worthy player in the premium field, dominated globally by the German triumvirate – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – with luxury cars being a dynamic and fast growing, high-profit market. The new midsize sedan, titled Giulia and designed to replace the aged 159, will be a global model unlike its predecessor and will feature traits running up to the iconic Ferrari brand. The model will take cues from Alfa’s rich racing heritage and the flagship version will feature a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that was first developed by Ferrari for Maserati and now once more remastered for the Alfa brand.
FCA CEO’s main antagonist is Alfa’s own bad reputation of poor quality and service, while investors might be dissuaded by the previous failed attempts to relaunch Alfa. The new Alfa is just one of seven models expected to come afterwards, including a crucial midsize sport utility vehicle. The brand will have to challenge well-known brands that are innovation leaders and also have the financing power of very strong parent companies.