Even after FCA’s grandiose plans to revive them, Alfa Romeo, Maerati and Fiat are still in trouble.
Back in June 2018, we reported on the massive changes Fiat Chrysler Automobiles planned over the next five years. Then-CEO Sergio Marchionne took ambitious steps to expand the influence of FCA’s brands into the future, including Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Now, a year later, current CEO Mike Manley laid out plans to move the brands in another direction on a quarterly earnings call Friday.
The news comes immediately after FCA and French PSA Group announced merger plans. That will certainly also have an impact on FCA’s product portfolio, but the companies will take some time to formalize all the details. FCA’s quarterly earnings presentation already shows some major changes coming for Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Alfa Romeo: No 8C, no GTV
After making a bit of a splash over the past couple years, Alfa Romeo sales in the U.S. have declined. It’s no surprise then that FCA plans to “rationalize” its product plan for the brand, which is a euphemism for downsizing. To that end, the company’s plan noticeably lacks the revived 8C and GTV models. Instead, we’ll see refreshed versions of the Giulia and Stelvio in 2021. Beyond that, we should also see two smaller crossovers, including a plug-in hybrid and all-electric crossover.
“In the near term, the new portfolio for the brand is significantly scaled back with a corresponding reduction in capital spending,” Manley said. To that end, we will see an SUV like the Tonale concept unveiled earlier this year. However, plans for new sports cars have apparently been axed, at least for now.
Maserati: All about electrification
As for Maserati, the changes aren’t quite so drastic. The company is in better shape than it was when Manley took over, but the restructuring process is still ongoing. Maserati is changing up its leadership team, and the company is taking a loss this year to reduce its inventory in preparation for changes starting in 2020.
Next year, we should see refreshed versions of the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante. To that a new sports car is due by the end of the year. According to the revised plan, it’s a battery-electric car, which should be the new Alfieri. When that does launch, it will be available both as a plug-in hybrid and as a pure EV. From there on, all Maseratis will pivot toward electric models.
In 2021, we’ll see a new smaller crossover, slotting below the Levante. Maserati should also launch a cabriolet version of the Alfieri, as well as an all-new GranTurismo. A new Quattroporte and GranCabrio are due in 2022, followed by a new Levante in 2023. There’s no mention of the Ghibli past its refresh, so perhaps FCA will kill it off or bring out a new model as part of the new PSA joint venture, as the French automaker is also leaning hard toward electrification.
With a complete refresh within the next four years, it appears FCA is rebuilding Maserati as a direct competitor to Tesla.
No mention of Fiat
If Alfa Romeo and Maserati look a bit weak, then Fiat is truly dying on its feet here in the U.S. The brand just axed the 500 and 500e in North America, leaving the 500L, 500X and 124 Spider. Under the latest plan, FCA will focus Fiat’s influence in markets where it’s been more historically successful. In other words, they’re focusing on Europe, rather than America.
It’s not remotely surprising, given Fiat’s recent sales performance. So far this year, the brand sold just 7,463 cars. That’s down 38 percent from 2018, and worse performance than any other FCA brand.
Moving forward, we’ll have to wait and see what near-term plans are for Chrysler and Dodge as well, which have both lingered on with aging platforms for years. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates!
H/T to Motor Trend for the original report.