Alfa Romeo at Risk, Marchionne Demands Close Review

Fiat is one of the world's five largest automakers and the company is looking to consolidate its leading position by eliminating all money-losing brands that could block its ambitious growth. Unfortunately, Alfa Romeo seems to be one of the obstacles as the economic recession practically cut the company's sales by a half, with Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne now considering a possible product freeze.

The Italian talked to Autonews on Tuesday and said that Alfa Romeo is indeed under review and a final decision is likely to come in February or March.

"We need to work a lot harder on Alfa to make an intelligent decision that effectively preserves the highest possible value to Fiat," Marchionne was quoted as saying.

There are two possible scenarios for Alfa Romeo: one of them would be to replace the 159 and the 166 with new models developed on Chrysler platforms. Alfa Romeo would continue to be in charge of sales and distribution, which basically translates into the brand living on.

On the other hand, Fiat might stop injecting money in Alfa Romeo after the Giulleta is officially launched. The 166 will thus remain outdated and Alfa Romeo will continue to rely on MiTo and Giulietta, even if the rest of the models will continue to be available. However, no new products will be launched.

"We need to stop doing it. You cannot be a newborn Christian every four years. It's the same religion, eventually you need to own a religion and carry it to conclusion,"
he said. "Certainly the availability of D and E segment (platforms) in the United States which are capable of being Alfa Romeoized is there. We need to look at the economics of that opportunity."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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