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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      me_not_you
      • 1 Year Ago
      I still do not understand why the 4C is going to Maseratti dealers. If they launch Alfa at Fiat dealers with the 4C and Giulietta it will create awareness of the brand to non-car people, and provide the Fiat dealers with a product above the 500 and 500L while setting the stage for the launch of the Giulia.
        Alex
        • 1 Year Ago
        @me_not_you
        I agree, Alfa needs to make sure they have a solid dealer network figured out before a US launch. Fiat has a fantastic advertising campaign going, but dealer issues played a big role in the demise of Alpha's US sales in the past. They are beautiful cars and I would love to see them on the streets. I think the placement of the 4C in Maseratti dealers has a lot to do with image and the target customer over anything else. In thier eyes the target buyer would rather buy the cheapest car on a semi exotic lot than the most expensive car at your average lot.
        Andrew Berardinelli
        • 1 Year Ago
        @me_not_you
        It would make you wonder why they just don't badge everything under 1 brand instead of 3 different ones. It might be a good idea to unify the brand here in order to garner some interest from people who might like a 500 over a 4C or something else, but at least get their attention to look at the other stuff. The only issue I can see with that is it may not bode well with the Italians who might not want to lose identity of one brand going into the other.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      RWD is good and the much needed direction for Alfa. On the other hand, I'm concerned because Fiat dealers are starved for product. So does this mean a further five years for Alfa's return to the US?
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 1 Year Ago
      >RWD good
      Proghog
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where are they going to sell the Alfas in the US, Chrysler dealers or turn the Fiat dealerships into Fiat/Alfa dealers?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Proghog
        [blocked]
        RLC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Proghog
        Neither. Alfa Romeo will never sell cars in the US. I gave up on them years ago.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @RLC
          [blocked]
          axiomatik
          • 1 Year Ago
          @RLC
          The 8C was already sold in the US, albeit in small numbers.
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Proghog
        Hopefully the latter.
      Justin Campanale
      • 1 Year Ago
      You know what they should make on this aforementioned RWD platform? A new GTV. It would be a RWD 2+2 with a high revving V6, targeted at the M3, designed by Bertone. Design should look like this. https://forums.finalgear.com/mobiquo/smartbanner/ads.php?referer=http%3A%2F%2Fforums.finalgear.com%2Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D55444&code=35df66bd701d01ee6c01caa715493414&board_url=http%3A%2F%2Fforums.finalgear.com
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        [blocked]
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      "lackluster front drive Alfas" is an idiotic statement. Drive the last gen GTV, a 156 / 147 GTA or even an old 164 and tell me they're lackluster. Flawed, compromised, perhaps, but not even close to being lackluster. International mag road tests will confirm this. There have been very very few Alfas that have ever been boring to look at or drive. US auto media has been completely brainwashed into default 'FWD is bad' mode.
        ChaosphereIX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Shiftright
        amen brother. US media have been completely braindead to some fantastic FWD vehicles - not only hot hatches, but some of the best handling FWD cars such as the Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo, the Barchetta, and many of the Alfa Romeo stable. Touring cars, except BMW, are all FWD. They drive circles around any road car. FWD isn't that bad if you tune it right. My 155 is FWD, and it drives like it is on rails around corners. No understeer, just neutrality, then a 4 wheel drift, then oversteer. In a FWD platform. Now if Alfa and Fiat could make amazing handling FWD cars, imagine what they can do with a RWD platform!
      1STH
      • 1 Year Ago
      at this rate, Alfa Romeo should return to the US by 2079.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @1STH
        [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @1STH
        [blocked]
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      long live Alfa Romeo. My 155 V6 was one of those first lackluster FWD sedans, and it drives better than just about anything else available in the mid 90s. Touring car championships do not lie. Alfa needs to return to form with powerful cars with style, panache, and soul. The 4C is a good start, now they need a worthy successor to the 159 etc. I see the RWD architecture powered by Maserati-sourced V6s at the higher end, with turbo 4s for the more mainstream vehicles. Bring back the Busso V6, best sounding engine ever!
        Justin Campanale
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        Yes, yes, YES! A Busso V6 is EXACTLY what Alfa needs to regain footing in the US market. Take the existing 3.6 Pentastar V6. Have Alfa engineers extensively rework it( using assistance from.....wait for it.....Ferrari!). Tamper with the vote/stroke and decrease the displacement to 3.4 liters, but increase the redline to 7300-7400 rpm. You should end up with a creamy smooth V6 with 320-ish hp, a must-have for a modern Alfa sedan. Make a second variation of the existing Pentastar for higher performance applications. Increase the displacement to 3.8 liters. Increase the redline to 8500 rpm. The end result is a 450-ish hp V6. It would be perfect to use in an M3 competitor from Alfa.
      Wetstuff
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...disappearing from the face of the earth altogether is a thought too painful to bear." Pul'eeze.. about as much as I miss Lada or Plymouth. Jim
      mks4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sure would be nice for us to see a small(ish) RWD coupe...something to rival either the 2 or 4-series with the GTV nameplate making a real return. One can hope...
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mks4
        Yes-something old Jetta/e30 size: light & tight!
        ChaosphereIX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mks4
        the 916 GTV was awesome in its own right, even though it was FWD. Ever driven one? The one I drove bellowed like a small Lambo and drove on rails...
      anon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yup if they used it on the Dart instead of the FWD platform mighta been more successful (and in a way like the original Dart that was RWD.)
        • 1 Year Ago
        @anon
        [blocked]
          axiomatik
          • 1 Year Ago
          The Dart was revealed in Jan 2012, but wasn't on sale yet. Production didn't even begin until May 2012. They didn't start showing up on dealer lots until July 2012. So the Dart had only been on sale maybe 6 months when those articles were written. As Aaron mentioned, it's a brand new car to the market with a practically brand new name. In addition to that, Chrysler hasn't really sold a small car since 2005, so people don't think Chrysler when shopping for a new car. It has an uphill battle in the marketplace.
          1STH
          • 1 Year Ago
          LOL. what? by ALL accounts the Dart has been a miserable failure in terms of sales and performance.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          1STH
          • 1 Year Ago
          for the record i have nothing against the Dart. I like it....but (A) it's not as good as a RWD Alfa Romeo, and (B) it has not been selling well. http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1081847_why-isnt-the-dodge-dart-selling http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-31/how-chryslers-dodge-dart-missed-the-mark http://www.theledger.com/article/20130114/NEWS/130119636
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          1STH
          • 1 Year Ago
          LOL. no. the Dart debut'd in January of 2012. these articles are one year after.
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