Among the biggest goals in the recently unveiled Fiat Chrysler Automobiles five-years business plan is Alfa Romeo’s revival and transformation into a global power brand.
The strategy laid out by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Alfa’s parent, for example, calls for the Italian premium sports brand to jump US sales from the current zero to 150,000 units in just four short years.
“It is mathematically possible for Alfa to sell 150,000 in North America by 2018, but so is winning the lottery,” said LMC Automotive analyst Jeff Schuster.
“Alfa will only work if it’s got a dedicated facility or it is paired with another luxury brand,” said Jim Ziegler, a U.S. auto dealer consultant. “You can’t have the same sales team selling $17,000 cars from one brand and $60,000 cars from another. It just doesn’t work that way.”
“They’ve got to develop in the space of four years an entire portfolio of vehicles,” AutoTrends analyst Joseph Phillippi said. “That’s a huge engineering challenge.”
Many industry experts and observers pointed out to the serious competition in the luxury segment, with established players like Audi needing two decades to reach such a sales level and others, like Ford’s Lincoln brand not even reaching 100,000 units per year.
Also, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, for example, are now seriously working their way down the ladder, offering more and more affordable compact models, with prices that make the cars dig into mass-market territory.
Also, Alfa Romeo’s return to the US shores is shadowed by another of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand introductions – the mainstream Fiat came in 2011 and dealers struggle to make sales with only two models in the portfolio.