Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the world’s seventh largest automaker, has recently announced plans to invest at least 500 million euros ($540 million) to manufacture two new engines for its Alfa Romeo brand.
The planned expense is an integral part of the company’s revival strategy for the brand, with Alfa Romeo in turn part of the larger scale group vision for a five-year and 48 billion-euro expansion drive. The group wants to invest during the period a total of 5 billion euros to finally revive the Alf Romeo brand – concentrating in Europe on the higher profit yield brought by premium brands, such as Maserati, Jeep and Ferrari. In Alfa’s case, the turnaround plan includes the introduction of eight new models by 2018 in a bid to lift the brand’s sagging deliveries by more than five times to 400,000 units. According to a company statement, the engines will be produced at the southern Italian Termoli plant and will include a technologically advanced four-cylinder engine especially developed for the brand. The other one would be a Ferrari-derived six-cylinder engine.
Fiat SpA acquired the Alfa Romeo brand back in 1986 from state holding firm IRI and all the revival plans so far met an untimely demise – with the brand currently selling just three cars. Two years ago, the brand’s sales totaled just 74,000 units. Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne, has pledged to house all Alfa Romeo production in its home country, in a bid to use the idle plants it has in Italy, safeguard jobs and give an image boost to the brand’s revival, contending that “Italians know how to build great cars”.