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Discussion Starter #1
from Automotive News Europe...
TURIN, Italy -- Fiat S.p.A. plans to create a new brand group for its sporty Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth marques.

The group will be headed by Harald J. Wester, who is currently CEO of Maserati and Abarth, people familiar with the matter said.

In his new role, Wester is expected to identify potential synergies between Maserati and money-losing Alfa Romeo, which is undergoing a strategic review of its future.

Maserati has been owned by Fiat since 1993 and sells exclusive luxury sports cars priced between 114,000 euros and 135,000 euros.

The Abarth sub-brand, which comprises sporty versions of the Fiat Punto and 500 cars, was relaunched at the 2007 Geneva auto show.

Fiat is reviewing options for Alfa, which has lost between 200 million and 400 million euros a year in the past 10 years, according to sources.

There are two options under consideration for the brand, which was founded in 1910 and bought by Fiat in 1986.

One is to freeze investment in the brand after its latest model, the Giulietta, debuts at the Geneva auto show in March. The Giulietta will replace the 147.

This would mean that the Alfa 166 would not be replaced and would leave the brand with the Giulietta and the MiTo, launched in 2008, as its only fresh models. The rest of Alfa's range -- the 159, Brera coupe, Spider and GT coupe will continue to be sold for a while.

This option could result in a slow death for the brand, as sales would fall without the addition of fresh products.

The second option is to use platforms from Chrysler, of which Fiat owns 20 percent, to underpin a D-segment sedan to replace the 159 and an E-segment sedan to replace the 166. Both new models would be built in North America.

The review of Alfa is due to be completed by mid-April, which is when Fiat will unveil a strategic plan for the group for 2010 to 2014.

Alfa's new-car sales have declined steeply in the past decade as its range became older and new products were delayed.

Last year, Alfa's sales in Europe increased 8.1 percent to 110,545 units, according to ACEA, the association of European automakers, but were about half of the 203,000 units sold in 2000.

Fiat will report Alfa's global sales on January 25.

Alfa's current CEO, Sergio Cravero, will be assigned to new duties within Fiat's automotive division, sources say.

Cravero has been CEO of Alfa for just 12 months after replacing Luca De Meo, who was Fiat group's chief marketing officer as well as CEO of the Alfa and Abarth brands. De Meo left Fiat in January 2009 to take up a top marketing job at Volkswagen AG.

Wester, 51, is a German engineer who joined Fiat in 2004 from Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr. He will keep his role as Fiat Group's chief technical officer, sources said.
 

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If in doubt, reorganise. . .:rolleyes:
which, sadly, is what for the last twenty years Alfa has done almost every 18 months.

Maybe 'refocus' might be a better strategy than reorganise.

"In his new role, Wester is expected to identify potential synergies between Maserati and money-losing Alfa Romeo"

Hmm, that'll be an interesting presentation when Wester delivers it. Maybe we'll have to wait until slide six of his PowerPoint prezzo for where he explains the concept of 'turning water into wine'
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i think the end of the article should read, FGA running out of ideas for Alfa!
 

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As someone said on another Site" If I were Wester, I'd be refreshing my resume for the inevitable boning in 12 months."
 

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This was a comment made at the beginning of December 2009


Marchionne is right on Lancia, wrong on AlfaMarchionne is right on Lancia, wrong on Alfa

December 6, 2009 - 11:00 am ET
http://www.autonewseurope.com/article/20091206/BLOG12/912069997#comments



Sergio Marchionne says that Lancia models from 2011 could be badged Chryslers in most European markets, possibly even in Italy.

Marchionne, who heads both Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group, also says he might freeze investments in money-losing Alfa Romeo after the launch of the Giulietta in 2010.

I think Marchionne is right on Lancia -- sadly -- but very wrong on Alfa. I say that having owned three Lancias but just one Alfa.

When Lancia enthusiasts -- called Lancisti here in Italy -- see a Chrysler 300C with some sort of Lancia rebadging in a few year's time, they will be up in arms, but the global auto industry has simply no more room for a largely domestic brand like Lancia.

Last year, Italians bought 93,300 Lancias and just 4,600 Chryslers. But in the rest of Europe, Chrysler outsold Lancia by almost a 20 percent margin, or 24,400 to 20,600 units.

Herbert Demel, Marchionne's predecessor as Fiat Auto CEO, wanted to scrap Lancia. Current Lancia CEO Olivier Francois has kept the brand alive the past four years with little money and many bright ideas but the Fiat-Chrysler alliance has changed the perspective.

Fiat-Chrysler cannot afford to have two near-premium niche brands in Europe. Concentrating on Chrysler is sad for true Lancisti, but an understandable business decision.

Alfa's situation is more complicated.

The brand is losing money so it has little cash to invest in future products. But its aging product lineup means that Alfa's declining sales have to be propped up with incentives -- leading to higher losses.

Alfa's dilemma

During Marchionne's tenure -- for financial and strategic reasons -- Alfa has not been given the weapons it was promised to boost its sales.

The Giulietta will replace the 147 next spring, a year later than planned. The 166 brand flagship was discontinued in early 2007 and the C-Xover crossover, promised for a decade and planned to launch early next year, has been put on hold again.

Marchionne will decide by next spring whether Alfa will use Chrysler platforms to replace the aging Alfa 159, the 166 and to finally create a crossover or whether to freeze all new products, which will leave Alfa with only the MiTo and Giulietta as fresh products.

Canceling new products would kill Alfa in just a few years, so Marchionne would do better to sell the brand before it goes into an agonizing decline.

Fiat would get more money for the brand while is still alive. Even with a great heritage, a dead brand is worth almost nothing.

Marchionne would find it hard to justify killing two venerable Italian brands at the same time.

Maybe a cash-rich, globally ambitious Chinese carmaker might like to have a brand like Alfa.


 

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Maybe 'refocus' might be a better strategy than reorganise.
I think "refocus" is probably the wrong word here. "Focus" would have been a better choice - I see no evidence of a coherent strategy over the last 20 years. Maybe a good start would be to define just where Alfa fits in the market.

One good thing to come out of all the dithering on the Giulietta may be that, unlike the Allegro, oops, MiTo, the development work will be completed before it goes on sale. . . or maybe not.:(
 

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I think "refocus" is probably the wrong word here. "Focus" would have been a better choice - I see no evidence of a coherent strategy over the last 20 years. Maybe a good start would be to define just where Alfa fits in the market.

One good thing to come out of all the dithering on the Giulietta may be that, unlike the Allegro, oops, MiTo, the development work will be completed before it goes on sale. . . or maybe not.:(
So 10 years to think about it and still a rushed job ;)
 

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Not speculation anymore...

TURIN, Italy -- Fiat S.p.A. has created a new brand group for its sporty Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth marques.

The group will be headed by Harald J. Wester, who is currently CEO of Maserati and Abarth as well as chief technical officer at Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles. Wester will keep all of his current job responsibilities.

Alfa's current CEO, Sergio Cravero, is reassigned to head of product portfolio planning and product concept at Fiat Group Automobiles.

"The purpose of bringing the Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands under the same leadership is to emphasize and leverage the value of the shared qualities of the three brands in terms of their sporting characteristics and performance," Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.

"Harald Wester, who has demonstrated his enormous commitment on several fronts and achieved optimum results, will bring strong leadership capabilities and solid technical experience and know-how to this project," Marchionne added.

In his new role, Wester is expected to identify potential synergies between Maserati and money-losing Alfa Romeo, which is undergoing a strategic review of its future.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100122/ANE/100129973/1303#ixzz0dLvfyDNO
 

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What is this going to mean for Alfa then? The report still mentions the possible freezing of investment. Whats the point in giving control of Alfa to this Westner charachter if Fiat freeze investment? Or is this just a mish mash of reports?

On the face of it I thought "fantastic". Alfa and Maserati sharing technology/platforms etc but when I read on it seems very unclear what this all means.:confused:
 

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this sort of thing isn't new ... Ford used to have something called PAG - Premier Automotive Group which was Jag, Landie, Aston & Volvo ... all it means is the top level goal and control of the brands is under 1 person
 

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this sort of thing isn't new ... Ford used to have something called PAG - Premier Automotive Group which was Jag, Landie, Aston & Volvo ... all it means is the top level goal and control of the brands is under 1 person
But how much control will Wester have if Alfa's future has still to be decided? It seems to be a contradictory report to me. In making this announcement haven't Fiat Spa already decided Alfa's Future?:confused:
 

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Well I did read a press release on one of the automotive websites that mentioned alfas future product lineup would be released as a statement in the coming weeks.
 
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Reading between the lines it does sound like it's the end of the line for alfa :(
 

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I'll put another slant on this. I think it makes perfect sense to put the sporting marques together under one business unit with Abarth doing 'hot hatches', Alfa occupying the middle range saloons and coupes then Maserati nudging up into the exotica. Don't think it spells the end at all - in fact could be the start of a new era (hopefully)
I also suspect that Marchionne recent comments re Alfa could be a kind of bluff to elicit a reaction. No such thing as bad publicity remember, especially with a recent model launch and another one imminent
 

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Alfa are already "expensive' cars in Australia and this will probably make them more expensive.....
Currently even an enthusiast has to think about before buying which is the reason I am picky about the seats in Alfa these days.
If they are not comfortable I am not paying a large amount of money for one of these cars.
The 159Ti has worse seats than the GT as far as comfort in concerned.
One reason I bought the Volvo C30 was there was no Alfa I liked in which I fitted comfortably these days. I have to wonder about large people as I am not fat.
Also Volvo came with a decent size 2.4 i petrol engine , very good suspension and is a great touring car
whilst being cheapish and fairly quiet even on noisy Pirelli P7 tyres .....Cheaper than a Mito 1.4T sport.
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The cheapest Mito here in OZ is a 88 bph 1.4 and it is more than 16,000 UK Pounds on the road. A 1.4TSport is well over 20,000 UK Pounds on the Road. When the Import Tariffs were dropped to 5% recently Ateco the importer decided to add more useless kit rather than drop the prices.

Strangely I have yet to see a Mito actually on the Road here in Melbourne, Australia...

Alfa Romeo...... when even Passion is not enough to get you to buy......
 
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It's the same over here Stori Alfa's are pricey due to import taxes you can't blame Alfa for them costs to be honest.
 
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