North American Production on Alfa Romeo SUV to Begin in 2016
If you’re a car enthusiast, there’s no doubt that you’ve dreamed about riding around in the Alfa Romeo, one of the most luxurious cars in the world. The Italian manufacturer has been establishing their brand in Europe, but despite a short tenure in the United States, the company has yet to make a name for themselves over here.
Luckily, that will surely change following the release of the company’s new SUV in 2018. With the vehicle being put into production in 2016, we can justify previewing the vehicle and the company a bit early (okay, maybe really early). So before you head down to your local Chrysler dealer in Miami Florida, check out the information we’ve gathered on the company’s upcoming SUV…
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced in late July that North America production on the newest Alfa Romeo SUV will begin in the middle of 2016, as Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press passes along. The Alfa Romeo will be a part of Chrysler’s desire to “revive the brand globally,” and the SUV will be one of eight new models that should be launched by 2018.
As the writer describes, the plan is to have Fiat’s Italian auto factories transform into an “export hub” for the new SUV and the upcoming Maserati models. The entire plan is estimated to cost the company around $5.6 billion, and the hope is that the brand will actually make money at the end of the day.
The company has reportedly already spent around two billion euro, with Marchionne saying the money “involves effectively the industrialization on the first car, the architecture, the engines and effectively all the prep work in connection with the launch of the second vehicle, which is coming at the end of the first half, beginning of the second half of 2016.”
After having sold ablut 74,000 Alfa Romeos nationally in 2013, Fiat Chrysler is hoping to boost sales to more than 400,000 by 2018, with North American sales accounting for 150,000 of those vehicles. The current lack of sales has little to do with popularity, as there was great fanfare when Chrysler and Alfa Romeo teamed up back in 2009. As Snavely describes, many Fiat dealerships began opening in anticipation of the iconic vehicle.
The Alfa Romeo made it’s debut way back in 1910, when the company was founded as A.L.F.A. (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili,” or the Anonymous Lombard Automobile Factory), but it’s routes started years before. In 1906, a automobile firm (“Società Anonima Italiana Darracq”) was started by Alexandre Darracq. With car sales struggling, the group rebranded the company, and they subsequently produced the Alfa Romeo we know and love today.
Unsurprisingly, the company soon was involved in motor racing, participating in the 1911 Targa Florio with their 24-horsepower car. Since then, the group has participated in Grand Prix motor racing (which it won the first world championship for in 1925), Formula One, various sports car circuits, touring car racings, and an assortment of rallies.
After having produced Italian and Allied war vehicles during World War I, the company struggled financially for some time. While lack of sales certainly contributed, their woes could also be attributed to the failing of Italian banks. The company then decided to switch up their strategy a bit, shying away from hand-built luxury cars while focusing on mass-producing smaller vehicles.
This improved outlook helped speed the production of the Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which stayed in production from 1954 through 1994. The brand had some success producing vehicles up through the 1980s, when they were sold to the Fiat Group (which eventually transformed into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).
The company made their first appearance in the United States back in the 1950s, when importer Max Hoffman asked for an open version of the company’s Guilietta model. This resulted in the creation of the Spider, and due to the success and popularity of the car, Alfa Romeo was importing regularly to the United States by 1961. After the company decided to stop exporting to the United States, there were plenty of rumors regarding a return. A company website announced they’d be back in 2007, and the company confirmed in 2006 that they’d like to resume sales in the country by 2008.
Following rumors for a 2013 release (and following expected delays), the SUV hit the United States in late 2014, but as the writer notes, “the tiny sports car is not designed for mass market appeal and is produced in a small volume.” Ultimately, there were only 295 of the vehicles produced in the United States.
Before we get a stab at the Alfa Romeo, expect to see the Giulia sedan or the Maserati Levante SUV hit car lots first. The Giulia was unveiled in Milan, Italy sometime in July, and the brand’s CEO expects the vehicle to begin production sometime in the coming months, with an eye towards releasing the sedan in 2016. Furthermore, Marchionne opines that the ‘Giorgio architecture’ of the Giulia could ultimately be used for future rear-wheel drive models. Meanwhile, the Maserati (which is currently being developed near Turin, Italy) is expected to go on sale sometime during the first half of 2016, meaning production needs to be completed before the brand can focus on another vehicle.
“We are taking a very hard look at the sequencing of the products that we are launching to make sure that we get the biggest bang for the buck from the utilization of the architecture in terms of volumes,” Marchionne said.
As you can see, Alfa Romeo’s newest SUV will certainly be worth the wait. Not only will you be receiving a luxury car with impressive specs (which are expected), but you’ll also be included in an exclusive group of drivers. If you’ve ever wanted fellow drivers to turn their head as you drive by, this would be the car for you.
If you can’t wait, head down to Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Miami, Florida. The helpful staff will get you hooked up with any of the company’s other impressive vehicles.