Alfa to expand, Maserati to chase Tesla?
Balloco, Italy - Fiat Chrysler's sporting brand, Alfa Romeo, is still targeting 400 000 annual sales, but now for 2022, having missed the initial goal of this year.
Alfa Romeo has grown from 66 000 vehicles a year in 2014 to a forecast 170 000 in 2018, well short of the 400 000 it targeted in its previous five-year business plan in 2014.
Speaking at the presentation on Friday of Fiat Chrysler Auto's 2018-2022 business plan, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brand chief Timothy Kuniskis said Alfa will roll out seven new launches over the five-year period, including updates of the Giulia and Giulietta.
"The timing of our expansion plans couldn't be more optimal", he said, given the premium market is forecast to grow at twice the rate of the mainstream passenger car segment. Like Jeep and Maserati, he said, Alfa will put a fresh focus on electrified powertrains and discontinue diesel.
Maserati targeting Tesla
Kuniskis said Maserati will be targeting Tesla with its five-year plan to launch all of its vehicles with electrified versions.
The brand will introduce two brand new cars over the five-year period, including a pure electric supercar named "Alfieri" that will accelerate from 0-100km/h in about two seconds; the other will be a larger utility vehicle.
"With a pure electric supercar," he added, "it may look like we are targeting Tesla. We are."
Maserati is entering an exclusive deal with Ferrari for all future powertrains, he said, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric, while it eliminates diesel engines. Ferrari was part of the Fiat Chrysler portfolio until its 2016 spinoff and the two companies share a CEO, Sergio Marchionne.
Kuniskis Maserati is aiming to double its sales from 50 000 in 2017 to 100 000 cars a year by 2022.
Marchonne to retire, leaving FCA with zero debt
The presentation marked Sergio Marchionne's grand finale, 14 years to the day after he was named Fiat CEO. During that time he has merged Fiat with Chrysler and spun off Ferrari.
The 65-year-old Canadian, who is famous for always wearing a navy blue cashmere sweater and never a tie, no matter how important the occasion (including, famously an audience with the pope!) said he expects Fiat will reach zero debt by the end of June 2018, and fullfilled an earlier promise to wear a tie to make the announcement by unzipping a knit cardigan to reveal a blue tie - the first, he said, he has worn in a decade.
Marchionne said debt is "a legacy that has dogged both Fiat and Chrysler for decades," and that erasing it "is a fundamental change in how this company is perceived. It is a significant milestone in the process of healing of a structural weakness".