Well it’s been a few days since the FCA announcements, talk of a 700hp new 8C for Alfa, along with the return of the GTV not to mention a ‘stretched’ Giulia to take on BMW’s 5 series. Then we have word that finally the Maserati Alfieri will see the light of day as an electric Supercar, 0-62mph in 2 seconds taking the fight directly to Tesla. What of Fiat? Well rumours are still going round that Fiat will pull out of the U.S as FCA does not believe with the 500 being their main product, it can warrant staying nor be competitive.
So first point has to be addressing the Fiat issue, pulling out of the U.S to me is short sighted, the little 500 has started to gain a good following across the pond, much like in Europe, withdrawing from the American market will only devalue the Fiat brand and harm any long term plans about returning in the future, whether it is 10 or 20 years down the road. With Fiat cars to become electric over the next few years, the 500 is the ideal car to lead the city ‘charge’ (no pun intended?!) in the U.S, FCA needs to dig in and ride the bumpy ride while Fiat puts down strong enough roots to, over time, become a profitable part of the group in the ‘States.
What of Alfa? Can FCA deliver on promises? Earlier this decade we got promised 8 news models from Alfa, but as is all too often the case this never materialised, we had two, the Giulia and Stelvio, three if you want to include the 4C Spider. The GTV is all but done, testing has been ongoing for the last few months and we should see the official unveiling of this 640bhp Alfa in 2019. What of a new 8C? This will surely be a limited edition model, much like it’s predecessor, with over 700bhp said to be produced it certainly gets you drooling at the prospect, but will it happen? Is it going to be too close to Ferari’s 488 replacement, itself due in less than 2 years, or what of the Maserati Alfieri, the last thing FCA will want is any cannibalism of sales from products crossing each other. So yes if a new 8C arrives it will be in limited numbers, over £100k and all sold before they hit the Motor Shows.
Finally we get to see electric hybrid cars from Alfa, as it needs to play catchup fast in a very competitive market. We are sorry to see the MiTo go as FCA continues to push the Alfa brand up market, a direct competitor against the German’s. The MiTo pretty much kept the torch burning for Alfa for a period and to reward it by killing it off is maybe a bit harsh, I hope we will see the name comeback at some stage, maybe in the shape of smaller SUV (X1 rival?). Speaking of SUV’s, we are set to get a new bigger Stelvio, 7 seats in fact, but do we need it? Will it happen? I’m not too sure, the Stelvio is a very accomplished SUV, Maserati has it’s Levante and although neither offer 7 seats, I don’t see enough of a market share for this to be the top of the ‘get it into production list’. However a 5 series rival does, not since the 166 has Alfa had a saloon for the executive market and it needs one, yes Maserati has the Ghibli but it itself is currently under scrutiny as not being special enough to carry the Trident badge. So the time could be right for Alfa to bring out a bigger Saloon, but it needs to be quick, 2020 should be a realistic launch….
So onto Maserati, the Alfieri grabbed the headlines (Hallelujah!), we will also see the rest of the Maserati range become electric within the next 3-4 years. Starting with the Levante, FCA also told us a new Quattroportte is on the cards, no doubt a more upmarket version than what we have already, with electric motors and so on, I can see them aiming for the fastest 4 door saloon in the world title. A smaller SUV to the Levante is also on the cards, quite how this would fit with the Stelvio from Alfa already on the market remains to be seen, can one exist alongside the other? No word on the Ghibli interestingly, it could be we will see a new Ghibli introduced after the next generation Quattroporte, again pushing itself up market so as to avoid any clash of interests with a newer bigger Alfa Romeo Saloon.
To sum up, the plans are in place, each brand has the models to move forwards, we just hope FCA delivers, it has laid down the gauntlet, the competition won’t wait around to see what arrives from Italy and we don’t want to wait very long either…