Is Alfa Romeo In Trouble With This Latest Shakeup?
Today Stellantis, the parent company of Alfa Romeo, presented a reorganization plan. But looking at the plan, it doesn’t all seem to indicate a bright future for the troubled automaker. The first big red flag is that Alfa will now only build cars if there is an order for it. That means customers will have to wait until their Alfa is built and shipped before laying eyes on it.
Stellantis laid out its plans to Italy’s Industry Ministry at Alfa’s Turin headquarters. Part of the reorganization involves increasing production of the Fiat 500, which becomes all-electric. La Repubblica reports that 500 production in Tychy, Poland, will be shifted over to Turin’s Mirafiori plant.
Alfa will only build to order from now on
It also will find a new product to manufacture at its Maserati plant in Grugliaso, Italy. But the big news is its new mandate to only make what it has orders for. Yes, this will help cut costs but eliminates inventories to choose from at dealerships.
Last week Alfa CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato announced that the automaker would bring out one new model every year to 2026. And this falls in line with what Stellantis CEO Carlos Taveras said soon after the merger was complete. He stated that Alfa was a key component of the merger, clearing up any ideas that the Italian automaker was on borrowed time.
Indicating just one issue facing Alfa is that right now plant capacity is only at 40-percent. This is the FIM Cisl union’s estimate. Some of this is from production being halted for microchip shortage issues; something all automakers are facing.
Alfa’s new Tonale crossover arrives in 2022
The first new model will come in 2022 when the Tonale compact SUV will debut. Back in 2018, there were plans to bring out a new 8C and GTV. Those plans were abruptly canceled, while the Tonale continued development.
There were to be seven new models or refreshes planned for 2022 but they have been scaled back. The problem is that while Alfa builds excitement with models like the current 4C and Giulietta, crossovers and SUVs don’t. So from seven Alfa models and 71-percent of the market, it is down to crossovers and SUVs. Just like what everyone else makes.
In America, Alfa closed up shop in 1995. Then in 2008, it was back. First with the 8C Competizione, its two-seat 4C, and the Giulia in 2017.
Sales never really lit up in the US, which may be why the reorg is happening now
But since the launch of the Giulia sedan, sales have steadily fallen. From a high of 23,800 in 2018, sales have fallen to 18,585 last year. And though market share was never great, it too has plummeted. Of course, that will happen when sales are weak.
Though Stellantis is putting on a happy face, it doesn’t seem like there is much to be joyous about if you’re an Alfa fan. Alfa is an iconic brand. We have hope that this latest reorg will put it back to continuing that legacy.