According to a report in Automotive News that quotes "people familiar with the matter," the next big play in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan for Alfa Romeo is to break it off from Fiat Group Automobiles and set it up as a separate company within the Fiat empire, giving it the same structure as Ferrari and Maserati. The idea, say the sources, is that a transparent, standalone Alfa Romeo that has to justify its every move could clearly prove its success in the public financial statements it would have to report, finally achieving Marchionne's aim of making Alfa Romeo "a credible business proposition."

That, of course, assumes that Alfa Romeo will make a success of it. The brand hasn't made a profit in any year of Marchionne's decade at the helm; sales last year fell to numbers not seen in almost half a century and its new product offensive might not include the two vehicles currently responsible for 99 percent of its sales. We're told that the brand's six new models will begin arriving in 2016 - a roadster, a midsize sedan and large sedan, a compact SUV and large SUV, and a large coupe.

Marchionne aims to expand Alfa's global appeal in several ways, the first by stressing that they are Italian products that 'belong' to Italy. This is the stance that appears to have put the kibosh on the roadster twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5/Miata. Alfa Romeos will all be made in their home country, and if they take off they'll help bandage Fiat's problem with underused plant capacity, a bugbear that is just as problematic culturally and politically as financially. Top-tier trims would use V6 engines developed by Ferrari, and global access would get a boost by selling Alfa Romeos in Jeep's 1,700 international dealerships.

Some observers suggest Marchionne is preparing Alfa Romeo for sale to Volkswagen, which seems a crazy long shot in light of what Marchionne thinks of VW's business tactics. Still, the rumors won't die. Harald Wester, presently the CEO of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, would run the standalone company. Detroit, May 6 is where and when Marchionne will deliver the details of his plan to executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the finance folks will expect to find out how the highly indebted Fiat plans to pay for the move.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      timber
      • 7 Months Ago
      What about this crazy plan.... Making Alfa Romeo a company that actually offers cars, i.e. a line-up of models that more or less cover the market, instead of the current situation?
      Chief Executive
      • 7 Months Ago
      Alfa Romeo. Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles are all junk not fit for sale!
      jz78817
      • 7 Months Ago
      I don't get what the hell this guy's obsession is with Alfa.
        benjamin_braddock
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        He is the CEO, don't you think there should be some obsession with it? Or would you rather see Alfa dead and buried?
          Mike Pulsifer
          • 7 Months Ago
          @benjamin_braddock
          I'm glad he's obsessed with bringing Alfa back to North America. We need more beautiful cars on the road. There's nothing more bland than looking at the same old Chevys, Toyotas, and Fords every tenth of a mile.
          jz78817
          • 7 Months Ago
          @benjamin_braddock
          I don't care either way. I just don't get why there's this obsession with bringing Alfa back to North America while they're perfectly content to let Lancia rot even in Europe.
      Jeff
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'm disgusted....Alfa has been the biggest tease for the last two decades. We're coming to America, we're not. I now see Marchionne is planning to bag on the agreement to build the Mazda developed small sports car which they would share. I hope they go bankrupt and out of business very goo. The mentality that if a car isn't built in a particular country it's not worthy of the badge is decades old thinking.
      Vwfanatic
      • 7 Months Ago
      A spin-off is a good idea, that way when Alfa crashes and burns it won't singe FIAT.
      carnut0913
      • 7 Months Ago
      this is only to either sell it, or convince the board to sink it when it cant swim on its own. The only other possible reason would be some dealership issue for the US requiring Fiat dealers to carry Alfa, or requiring Fiat to let Fiat dealers carry Alfa.
        aatbloke1967
        • 7 Months Ago
        @carnut0913
        None of the above. The move will enable greater access to corporation tax group reliefs as a separate legal entity within the group structure.
        aatbloke1967
        • 7 Months Ago
        @carnut0913
        None of the above. The move will enable greater access to corporation tax group reliefs as a separate legal entity within the group structure.
      lasertekk
      • 7 Months Ago
      Maybe from the perspective of some paperwork or official filing, but Alfa has always been 'a separate company' that resided under the Fiat umbrella, like Ferrari and Maserati. Semantics....
      sinistro79
      • 7 Months Ago
      Light-weight architecture, rear-wheel-drive platforms, independent research & development teams, and autonomy from Fiat....sounds like an Alfa Romeo enthusiasts dream come true. It will be interesting to see how this new (or old, maybe) direction for Alfa translates into the real world and if consumers will be receptive to it. I am looking forward their new product plan in May.
      mks4
      • 7 Months Ago
      I predict a sale at some point, but not sure which suitor would be most interesting. VW? Maybe, but that's a bucket of front-wheel drive or fwd-biased awd cars. Sad about the Mazda deal...this seemed like a real nice shot at giving Alfa a sweet, rwd, fine-handling convertible: aka, a real Spider. It's amazing to think that Alfa has been without a Spider for so long and especially a real one. Heck, it's probably more amazing to think that the brand is somehow still alive after offering a limited range for so long.
      username
      • 7 Months Ago
      That is a really awkward placement for a wing mirror. It's like in the middle of the door...
      RGT881
      • 7 Months Ago
      Good move from a financial standpoint and image wise. However, I am questioning the decision to have the production be based out of Italy. If Italy had the Lira then its fair market price would be determined by various economical factors, but given that Italy is on Euro, which is not exactly cheap, coupled with the sky-high labor wages then questions arise as to how in the world can Alfa 1) generate healthy profit per union 2) be competitive against competition from product standpoint 3) be price competitive.
      RGT881
      • 7 Months Ago
      Good move from a financial standpoint and image wise. However, I am questioning the decision to have the production be based out of Italy. If Italy had the Lira then its fair market price would be determined by various economical factors, but given that Italy is on Euro, which is not exactly cheap, coupled with the sky-high labor wages then questions arise as to how in the world can Alfa 1) generate healthy profit per union 2) be competitive against competition from product standpoint 3) be price competitive.