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Model overhaul for Alfa Romeo, Fiat

Model avalanche: The new Alfa Guilietta will spawn a new Guilia too, on a wider, longer version of its platform.

Alfa and Fiat to be rebuilt with new models: sportscars, five-doors, SUVs and more

22 Apr 2010

AS EXPECTED, Fiat has decided to resurrect its struggling Alfa Romeo brand rather than abandon it, committing to a raft of new models in its five-year business plan released this week – including an all-new Spider, a 159 replacement, two SUVs and, not least of all, a five-door version of its MiTo.

In product plans now made public, the Italian auto giant – which is now the lead partner in a powerful new global alliance with Chrysler – also revealed a stunning number of new Fiat model variants to be sold across the world.

Until now, Alfa’s MiTo compact hatch has been designated a three-door model, leaving the Giulietta as the five-door drawcard for the prestige brand.

But that has changed, with Fiat/Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne revealing that Alfa Romeo’s stable would be broadened beyond the expectations of industry observers and ‘Alfisti’ alike in an effort to boost sales to up to 500,000 sales a year by 2014.

That would be a monumental climb, with Alfa recording fewer than 110,000 sales last year.

In detailing Fiat’s commitment to developing Alfa Romeo as a “premium full-line brand”, Mr Marchionne said the company was shooting for 350,000 sales in Europe alone by 2014, up 260 per cent on 2009.

New global models, including those developed to coincide with Alfa’s return to the US market by 2013, are the key to achieving its sales ambitions.

The 159 replacement will, as expected, be known as the Giulia and will launch in 2012 in both sedan and station wagon variants.

26 center imageTop: Alfa Romeo 2uettotto. Bottom: Alfa 159.

The Giulia will be built off a wider and longer version of the platform underpinning the all-new Giulietta – a model that succeeds the 147. The latter will be launched in Australia in the final quarter of 2010 and, as GoAuto has reported, was to be called the Milano before protests from Alfa Romeo workers in Milan, who objected to the name after the Italian firm relocated to Turin.

In 2012, Alfa will also launch a long-awaited C-segment compact SUV – a vehicle that reached advanced stages of development last decade before being placed on hold – with a larger D-segment full-size SUV reaching the market in 2014.

The latter is expected to be based on a Chrysler/Jeep platform.

A facelifted version of the MiTo will arrive in 2012, ahead of the five-door version launched the following year – 2013, when the all-new Spider, which was previewed by Pininfarina’s ‘2uettottanta’ concept at the Geneva motor show last month, will be launched as well.

Fiat has all but confirmed the Spider will be built off a new rear-drive platform, although it is not clear if this will be Chrysler’s large-car platform or underpinnings sourced from Fiat stablemate Maserati, which has also this week confirmed its commitment to an all-new small sportscar.

According to Alfa Romeo’s product plan, the current Spider and Brera will be discontinued mid-2011. The 159 reaches the end of the line in the final quarter of 2012, ensuring a smooth transition with the Giulia.

The current GT coupe, which is built off the 147 platform, will also be discontinued at the end of this year, while there is no space allocated in the product plan to any vehicle larger than the mid-size Giulia – ending speculation that a replacement for the 166 might also materialise in the first wave of new models under the Fiat/Chrysler alliance.

All the new models specified this week – Giulia, Spider, MiTo five-door and the two SUVs – will all be sold in the US, with the Giulietta also reaching the American market when a facelifted version is released in 2014.

Leaving no stone unturned, the Italian auto giant has also committed to a host of model changes to its Fiat range, with confirmation that an entry-level sub-Punto B-segment car will be launched in 2012 and, most intriguingly, an all-new sub-Panda city-car will be launched in 2013 – possibly heralding an electric vehicle range to rival BMW’s Megacity.

The Panda, which will likely share its underpinnings with the new micro, will enter a new generation in 2011, with Punto following suit in 2013. The Bravo will soldier on until 2013, to be replaced by an all-new small-car family believed to be based on the same platform as the Alfa Giulietta.

With development of this C-segment family well underway, the sedan version of will be launched in 2012, with hatchback and wagon variants following in 2013.

The 500 light hatch and the 500C convertible will be facelifted in 2012, while some overseas reports suggest that a five-door version of the 500 will also appear at the same time to bolster Fiat’s chances in the US market.

As GoAuto has reported, an electric version of the 500 is also due for release in the US in 2012.

Significantly, Fiat will also introduce a large SUV based on the Dodge Journey in 2011, while five-seater and seven-seater compact people-movers will follow in 2012.

This marks the end of the MPV joint-venture Fiat operates with PSA Peugeot-Citroen (807/C8), with the product plan revealing that Fiat’s version, the Ulysse, will be discontinued at the end of this year.

The Fiat Seicento micro, Siena Albia compact and Multipla and Croma people-movers will all be discontinued this year, with the Sedici SUV running until the end of 2012.

Among the Fiat light commercials, the Italian car-maker has committed to a Panda van in 2011, Punto van in 2013, a Fiorino facelift in 2012 and a ‘dropside’ utility version of the new Doblo Cargo van in 2011.

There is not much action in the larger vans, with Ducato receiving an upgrade in 2013, but Fiat has revealed that it will introduce a one-tonne utility in 2012 to rival the Volkswagen Amarok.

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