Alfa Romeo Giulietta and MiTo

Brands come and brands go in the automotive industry, but for enthusiasts, the prospect of Alfa Romeo disappearing from the face of the earth altogether is a thought too painful to bear.

Fortunately, parent company Fiat isn't about to give up on the storied Italian marque, even after decades of losses. This year, Automotive News reports, Alfa Romeo's sales are expected to drop below the 100,000-unit mark for the first time since 1969. But Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn it around. Or another plan, we should say, since this will actually be his fourth attempt at returning Alfa to profitability since taking the helm less than ten years ago.

The details of Marchionne's plans for Alfa – and for the Fiat and Chrysler groups altogether – won't be revealed until April, but what we already know is that it will center around a new rear-drive platform being developed by sister-brand Maserati. That'll be good news for enthusiasts who sigh at generation after generation of lackluster, front-drive Alfas, but it gets better: since Alfa itself can't justify the development cost of new architecture, the new rear-drive platform is also expected to be used for future Chrysler and Dodge products like the replacements for the 300, Charger and Challenger.

For Alfa's part, the platform is anticipated to underpin the new Giulia sedan and wagon, a larger sedan and a midsize crossover, the first of which are expected to arrive late in 2015 or early the following year. And best of all, each of these new models is tipped to come to the United States at long last, as well as help Alfa get a stronger foothold in the Chinese markets.