Too much ambition, too little money.
When Sergio Marchionne took two Italian automakers with sluggish sales under FCA’s wing, the plan was to turn them around and bring them back to prominence. If buyers caught on and jumped on board, it meant that FCA would finally have a foot in the door of the premium segment, one of the most profitable for automakers. Unfortunately, as Automobile reports, Marchionne’s grand scheme may be on the verge of going broke, which would leave Alfa Romeo and Maserati shipwrecked on the lower rungs of the automotive hierarchy.
FCA was hoping to expand Alfa Romeo’s lineup to the point that it could at least compete against Germany with an entry-level sedan, a mid-sized offering, a large luxury four-door, and a handful of SUVs. The Giulia satisfies the lower of these four-door offerings, but apparently, a coupe and Spider based off of the Giulia are on hold. Instead, Alfa will focus on two SUVs set to be revealed in 2016 and 2017. First up is the Stelvio, which will be followed by an unknown model. Focus is being shifted here because the SUVs will likely bring in some much needed cash to keep the revival project rolling. Alfa is also having problems on the smaller end of things, or namely, with updating the Giulietta hatchback.
That’s because the rear-drive Giulia platform cannot be downsized to the point needed to build the Mercedes A-Class competitor. On Maserati’s end, things aren’t looking too hot either. The Ghibli and Quattroporte’s sales have slowed down and to remedy that, Maserati wants to combine the two into one new large sedan that would offer the best of both worlds. Alfa Romeo would likely get its hands on this platform too in order to build its range topping sedan. Gearheads will be happy to hear that the Alfieri and its roadster variant are still set for release in 2018 and 2020 respectively. However, the Gran Turismo and its Gran Cabrio replacement may have also been placed on the “hold” pile.
Instead of those two, rumors are swirling that we’ll get a Porsche Macan competitor derived from the larger of the two Alfa Romeo SUVs. This would serve alongside the Levante and help collect more money for FCA, which would then be able to roll out more of the models we’ve been anticipating. With Chrysler’s best luxury offering being the 300, FCA seriously needs to join the ranks of the common automaker with a true luxury brand or two. Aside from a few fun yet niche options like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, FCA’s lineup is fairly plain and gives little incentive for buyers to keep spending.