We already know its name.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale will finally arrive to fight the likes of the Audi Q3 sometime next year. Newly installed Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Phillippe Imparato delayed the launch because he was unhappy with the plug-in hybrid version's performance. Fair enough. But if you thought the Italian luxury brand wouldn't build anything smaller than the subcompact Tonale then think again. According to Automotive News Europe, Imparato aims to compete in a slightly smaller-sized segment, specifically against the Mini Countryman.
In fact, the new SUV already has a name: Brennero. "I can absolutely fight against Mini," the CEO said.
"I'm convinced if I want to put Alfa Romeo on the safe side of P&L [profit and loss] in 10 years, I must be in the biggest segments in the world. I need to be in the B-SUV segment [small] and C-SUV [compact]. Being in the corner doesn't bring any results."
The Brennero's existence has been rumored for some time but only now is there definitive proof it's happening. There shouldn't be any need for concern about Alfa Romeo losing some of its premium status by offering a Countryman rival. Just look at the success of the Q3 and other German offerings like the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. Even the Mini comes with a premium price tag. Like all automakers, Alfa Romeo has been affected by the semiconductor chip shortage crisis.
It struck at a bad time as the brand was already struggling. Discounts were necessary to achieve decent sales. Imparato understands this needs to end. One way of doing so is to build the types of vehicles consumers want. Unfortunately, sedans like the Giulia don't sell like they used to. Sports cars like the 4C are very niche. That leaves crossovers.
Another key step in stopping the bleeding is to place production limits. Only building cars to order will prevent excess supply. The Tonale and upcoming Brennero are expected to make up the bulk of the brand's sales. Its first EV will debut in 2024 and by 2027 every new Alfa Rome will be fully electrified.