Alfa Romeo Takes Backseat in Focus on Jeep, Ram | Edmunds

Alfa Romeo Takes Backseat in Focus on Jeep, Ram

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan Alfa Romeo will add only a midsize SUV and the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan to its showrooms by the end of next year, according to a new Fiat-Chrysler business plan announced on Wednesday.

A new Alfa Romeo full-size sedan, two crossover or SUV vehicles, two "specialty" vehicles and a hatchback will be added between 2017 and 2020, the automaker said in a presentation.

A faster-paced product launch had been expected.

The current lineup includes the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, which spearhead the return of the Italian brand to the U.S.

Alfa Romeo 4C competitors include the BMW Z4, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Porsche Boxster.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is expected to go into production this spring.

While insisting that the "commitment to overall brand and product strategy remains in place," Fiat-Chrysler said Alfa Romeo's research and development, manufacturing and product investment will be "reduced through 2018."

"The planned product lineup will now be completed by mid-2020," it said.

The launch cadence of Alfa Romeo vehicles has been "re-paced," due to "uncertainties in China" and the "need to guarantee proper global distribution network execution," Fiat-Chrysler said.

Fiat-Chrysler is shifting its focus to Jeep and Ram in response to consumer demand. The automaker said the trend toward low fuel prices is permanent and that it expects car shoppers to continue to favor SUVs and pickup trucks in the long term.

Edmunds says: Car shoppers still will be able to get a dose of Italian glamour, but at a more leisurely pace.

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