Before Alfa Romeo enters the US market, it will need to position itself as a volume manufacturer and do battle against the Germans from Audi and BMW. And what better way to build volume than to join the lucrative luxury SUV/Crossover market?
Alfa Romeo, Fiat has admitted to a cadre of cranky investors, “needs significant work.” Its niche GT, Brera, and Spider models have been discontinued, leaving behind only four models in Europe—two of which are the aging 159 sedan and wagon. But after the Giulietta was introduced last year, the sporty SUV nicknamed the “C-SUV” will be the next new Alfa, built alongside a Jeep model that will share its platform. Engine choices will include Fiat’s gasoline and Multijet 2 diesel options, with a range-topping Chrysler Pentastar V6 for the finest example of American-powered Italiano motoring since the Chrysler TC by Maserati.
To show those cranky investors that Fiat is serious about Alfa’s volume manufacturing aims, CEO Sergio Marchionne has set Alfa a sales target: 500,000 cars in two years. Over on this side of the Atlantic, Alfa Romeo’s goals are more modest: 85,000 cars annually, starting in 2014 with the 4C sports car. But nonetheless, the C-SUV will be an important car to Alfa’s U.S. success, and another option in the BMW X3/Audi Q5 decision.