Last month monsieur Marchionne began to say that the relaunch of Alfa Romeo may take some more time. He said that the products that are due to be presented shortly will suffer some delays due to “the Chinese slow down”. This latest statement is the first directly related to the goals the brand set down in May 2014 at the investors day presentations. That day Harald J. Wester and Sergio Marchionne communicated to the world that Alfa Romeo intended to sell 400.000 units globally by the year 2018 thanks to a larger product range, better presence in Europe and its come back to North American market. One year and a half later the situation of the brand is quite complicated and nothing much has happened since that.
Currently there are 3 different new Alfa Romeos available, 1 coming and 1 to be presented shortly. The brand is back to US market with the 4C while many of its fans wait for the introduction of the Giulia. The brand will sell around 65.000 units this year and therefore it will only have 3 years to achieve the goal. As I wrote in a recent article, Alfa Romeo can sell 400.000 cars but it can’t waste more time. The Giulia should be already available and the SUV should be introduced in Geneva next year. Now both cars introduction will be delayed based on Marchionne’s new plans making even more difficult the achievement of the goal. What’s behind that? why this new announcement that leaves many fans and potential clients upset and confused? why to introduce a car more than one year after its presentation?
The most popular non-official reason is related to the problems FCA is having with the production of the Giulia. In the same way they had problems with the 4C and some of its components, the Giulia may be having some technical problems in its production line. However that may not be the right reason for the delay. There are some rumors that indicate that Marchionne is heading all of his effort and attention on something different: the acquisition of GM. It’s not a new issue,as he’s been saying from a long time that a marriage between the two groups would have big positive effects on their profitability. He even sent an email to Mrs. Barra, GM’s CEO, but the response has been always the same: they are not interested. Marchionne’s latest move point at a hostile takeover that includes his idea to convince GM shareholders using dedicated lobby and financial companies. Even if Marchionne denied this version, it’s probably that early next year there could be news regarding the possible partner for FCA. Based on a comment from a reader, the truth is that if things keep going like this, by the time the Giulia will be launched, it will need a facelift.