2+2 = 7, because 3. Yes, the FIAT/Chrysler holdup is holding up Alfa's plans, but that doesn't mean that model development has stopped completely.
"That this prototype is no more advanced than the one spotted by Autocar in Los Angeles 12 months ago shows that Alfa’s mainstream models are effectively on hold."
1. there's no evidence that this mule is "no more advanced" than previous ones, unless Autocar was able to somehow X-ray both of them.
2. even if it were, that is no evidence that the project is on hold. If the purpose of this mule was to do suspension tuning (one of the few tasks that requires actual road-going vehicles rather than computer models), there would be no need for its bodywork or cabin to be updated to the latest design... especially when the bodywork of a new car is its defining marketing feature, and thus the thing you want to keep secret until launch.
FIAT does a lot of its engineering in-computer, as do most other manufacturers these days. Putting a mule out on the public road is often done to seed interest in an upcoming model as much as it is to perform real-world testing.
I wonder, how does one become a car journalist these days? The "journalism" bit seems to be optional...
This year's winter testing season will be the proof of whether or not Alfa has stopped developing these models.