"With all due respect to my American friends, it needs to be a Wop engine," he told a group of international media assembled in a conference room Monday during the first day of the Detroit auto show.
Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian, used the term to describe the engine for the 4C. Fiat also owns Italian brands Ferrari and Maserati, and he said Chrysler's engines wouldn't work for an Alfa sportcar.
The brand's much-anticipated return to the United States has been delayed as it struggles to get the powertrain and other elements of a future Alfa portfolio in order. The 4C has been delayed, though it is being tested in the United States.
"The car is not where it needs to be
," he said. (Now that quote worries me
And neither is the rest of Alfa.
"This undertaking to bring Alfa back is a one-shot deal," he said. "We're not going to change our mind. We're not going to do it twice. We're not going to execute it poorly."
Marchionne did not give a timeline for Alfa's return.
"We need to be ready for Alfa," he said. "We are not ready."
He then added: "Alfa Romeo is coming. There's not a single doubt."