Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles will spend approximately $7 billion USD (five billion Euros) in an effort to expand its Alfa Romeo brand.
As part of a broad announcement detailing the next five year’s in Chrysler’s product plan, the company revealed today that it will market a new mid-size model in the fourth quarter of 2015 to be followed by seven more vehicles between 2016 and 2018. That plan will see two new compact Alfa Romeo vehicles possibly splitting the Giulietta nameplate.
Alfa Romeo also said today that the plan will include a full-size sedan and two utility vehicles along with a new specialty sports car separate from the current 4C coupe and convertible models. It also seems that Alfa Romeo doesn’t have a plan to follow up on the currently-available MiTO sub-compact model sold in other markets.
The massive model expansion is part of a plan the company hopes will push its volume from roughly 74,000 units last year to about 400,000 by 2018. In total, the company plans to launch eight products by the end of 2018. There will be five engines powering the product portfolio including a four- and six-cylinder diesel. The gasoline options will include a small displacement mill with between 100 and 200 hp, a mid-range engine with between 200 and 300 and a six-cylinder version that will push out between 400 and 500 hp.
Today’s announcements heralds what could be a new era for the Italian auto maker. Alfa Romeo implemented a skunkworks meant to help the brand yield products able to compete better with other upscale European brands with little to no influence from the FCA “machine except where talent is required.”
The Skunkworks is being spearheaded by two unnamed senior-level staff members from Ferrari who are overseeing day-to-day operations. Currently there are about 200 engineers tasked with helping develop the new vehicles that were pulled from FCA’s crop of talent as well as outside sources, but that pool is slated to triple in size by the end of 2015.
Alfa Romeo said today that it plans to use the skunkworks to develop a “best-in-class” rear- and all-wheel drive vehicle architecture that will be applicable to C and E segment vehicles including crossovers. It wasn’t made clear today how many of the planned new models will reach North American showrooms to join the upcoming 4C sports car.
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