Italian manufacturer will retrain its focus on advanced engines, perfect power-to-weight ratios and its 'skunk works' heritage.
Alfa Romeo plans rear-drive model line-up, new engines
Alfa Romeo chief has revealed plans of expanding its range of cars in 2015 and 2018. Harald J Wester, CEO of Alfa Romeo made the announcement at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) investor relations evening in Michigan.
The rebirth of Alfa Romeo hinges on an expanded range of eight new or revised models, a new focus on rear and four-wheel drive architecture and a heavier emphasis on the brand’s Italian heritage.
Alfa Romeo will also strive to offer the "best-in-class rear and all-wheel drive architecture for global products," echoing previous comments from Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne that Alfa will focus predominantly on rear-drive machines.
Alfa Romeo’s current model range comprises just four cars – the Mito, Giulietta and the Alfa Romeo 4C and 4C Spider sports cars. This range will be augmented by the Guilia, a new mid-size model to rival the BMW 3-series in the fourth quarter of 2015.
It however appears that, after that, the company will exit the sub-compact market that the Mito currently competes in. Instead, Alfa's product plan for 2016 onwards only allows for two cars in the compact segment, the Guilia, a full-size sedan, two SUVs and a new "speciality" offering in the vein of the Alfa Romeo 4C. The product plan also allows for high-performance Cloverleaf-badged variants of the new models.
Alfa’s future cars will choose from a pool of five engines, three petrols and two diesels. Two of the petrol-fuelled engines will be four cylinders, with the other being a six-cylinder, while four- and six-cylinder diesels will also be offered.
The Italian company hasn’t revealed specific performance figures for each unit, although the six-cylinder petrol could produce around 500bhp in its most powerful state of tune.
In the presentation to investors, Alfa acknowledged that striking past models such as Brera, 159 and Spider had “missed the historical DNA of the brand”. This, it admitted, had enabled “our German competitors to build up a phenomenal lead over us over a number of years”.
The DNA, says Alfa, comprises “advanced, innovative engines, perfect 50/50 weight distribution, unique technical solutions, class exclusive power-to-weight ratios and groundbreaking and distinctly Italian design”. The company says the Alfa Romeo 4C marks the start of a return to this process and is “the perfect embodiment of the brand’s DNA”.
Alfa also wants to return to the ‘skunk works’ ethos that underpinned its formative years of car making. It will develop its own technical solutions with a large degree of autonomy from parent company FCA and will hand-pick its engineering talent from across the FCA group and the outside car industry. The cars and engines will all be made in Italy. The company intends to grow its global sales from 74,000 last year to 400,000 by 2018.