May 7, 2014
New unnamed Fiat to likely be MX-5 based roadster; Alfa Romeo plans massive model expansion
As our coverage of yesterday’s FCA Investor Day continues, we look at all the Italian brands now part of the combined Italian-American company.
While Fiat has been back in the Canadian market since 2011, the other mass-market Italian brand – Alfa Romeo – has been struggling to find its way back across the Atlantic. At the conference, the big plan was laid out for Alfa’s reemergence, along with some details from Maserati and Ferrari.
The range of Fiat offerings in North America will double from two models currently to four in North America before the end of 2015. At the beginning of next year, the new Fiat 500X small crossover will join the range, with a “Specialty” model following at the end of the year, expected to be the Mazda MX-5 twin built by Mazda in Japan. The roadster was earlier planned wearing an Alfa Romeo badge, but due to Sergio Marchionne making Alfa an Italian-only brand, the product was pushed to Fiat. We’d also bet on it being named Fiat Spider.
Alfa Romeo, now with a clear edict from Marchionne that all models be rear-wheel drive and built in Italy, now has a solid plan stretching into 2018. Considering the vast majority of Alfa Romeo sales currently come from front-wheel drive hatchbacks, this will be a feat for FCA as they look to give the brand a sharper focus.
Alfa Romeo Highlights:
- Mid-size (2015) – A yet unnamed mid-size sedan will join the Alfa Romeo ranks with rear-wheel drive.
- Cloverleaf Model (2015) – While nothing was said beyond there being an upcoming Cloverleaf model arriving in 2015, we can make a reasonable assumption it will be a 4C Cloverleaf. Rumours have been swirling the 1.75-litre turbocharged powerplant in the 4C can make more power than it does in its current tune. Also, with no new models planned except for an upcoming mid-size car, we’re still batting .500 by taking a wild guess on the 4C.
- Everything Else, Literally (2016-2018) – Compared with other brands under the FCA umbrella, Alfa Romeo is keeping fairly mum on future product plans while still giving us a pretty general roadmap. The compact Giulietta will be replaced by two models in the compact class, possibly two body styles of the same vehicle (coupe and hatch?). A full-size vehicle will also join the ranks, coinciding with the introduction of the Charger/Challenger/300 launch in 2018. Two utility vehicles will wear Alfa badges as well. In addition to the 4C Coupe and Spider, Alfa has another “specialty” model planned, possibly a successor to the 8C.
The other sub-exotic performance brand, Maserati, is looking to expand as well. The marque wants to “cover 100% of the luxury markets” between now and 2018 with new products like the Levante SUV, Alfieri Coupe and yet-to-be seen Cabrio, and a new GranTurismo. These models will join the new Ghibli and Quattroporte models.
Top-flight Ferrari was mentioned during Investor Day with a grand “Ferrari is not for sale” box on one of the slides. The Italian producer of exotics will limit output to 7,000 units, saying it’s “wilful and intended,” though that number could climb to 10,000 units per annum as other markets open up. Ferrari will launch a new car every year through to 2018. The models will have a lifespan of four years with “M” models of those cars extending their life for an additional four.