U.S. Is Key to Alfa Romeo Revival, Says Marchionne
- The U.S. is the key to Alfa Romeo's revival, said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, as he dismissed criticism that previous Alfa revival plans have come to nothing here.
- Marchionne said previous attempts to revive Alfa in the U.S. "never got executed."
- The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C will spearhead the reintroduction of the brand in the U.S.
GENEVA — The U.S. is the key to Alfa Romeo's revival, said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, as he dismissed criticism that previous Alfa revival plans have come to nothing here.
Marchionne said previous attempts to revive Alfa in the U.S. "never got executed." Marchionne spoke to reporters at a roundtable event here.
The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C, which commanded much of the spotlight at the Geneva show, will spearhead the reintroduction of the brand in the U.S.
"A very solid alliance with Chrysler with a dealer network, the Chrysler infrastructure and the sharing of outstanding model platforms" is the key to Alfa Romeo's return to the U.S., Marchionne said.
He added: "It couldn't have been done before — the baseline investment would have exceeded the revenue."
As for the cars themselves, future Alfa Romeos will have three core characteristics.
"First, design," Marchionne said. "Second, the light-weighting of its vehicles and third, unique powertrain solutions. And we have met the target with the 4C."
America is the priority, with the 4C to spearhead the reintroduction of the brand, which departed in 1995.
"We have a very good history there, though not so high in terms of standards of quality," Marchionne said.
He mentioned the popular-culture impact that an Alfa Spider made in the 1967 Dustin Hoffman movie The Graduate.
But Marchionne is less certain about how Alfa Romeo can achieve a revival in Europe.
"I don't know at today's price levels," he said, referring to today's heavy discounting. "The degradation of prices is occurring not just in the mass market, but the premium end, too."
Alfa Romeo 4C pricing has not been announced, but Fiat has hinted that it could come in at around $60-$70,000 in the U.S.
Edmunds says: Harnessing Chrysler's sales infrastructure should give Alfa Romeo a head start in the U.S. and the lightweight structure, advanced engine and lofty design strategy sounds good, too. But in the end, it will all come down to how the Alfa Romeo 4C — and any future products — are priced.