TURIN, Italy -- Chrysler Group will play a key role in plans to revive Fiat S.p.A.'s ailing Alfa brand. The U.S. automaker will build two new Alfa crossover models for sale in North America and Europe.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne made a strong commitment to the money-losing sporty brand, which will be 100 years old in June, during a presentation of Fiat's five-year strategy today.
Marchionne announced the launch of seven new Alfa models from 2010 to 2014 and said Fiat is determined to transform the brand into a "full-line premium carmaker."
Marchionne also said North America will account for 85,000 unit sales in 2014 out of 500,000 that Alfa aims to sell in that year.
The Chrysler-built vehicles for Alfa will be:
• A compact SUV based on the Compact architecture that underpins the Giulietta hatchback in Europe. Production will begin in 2012
• A large SUV, similar in size to the next Jeep Liberty, which is sold as the Cherokee in Europe. Production will start in 2014.
The crossover models will be built in two of the three U.S. plants that Chrysler Group plans to retool for new Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models based on Fiat-Chrysler's Compact Wide architecture.
Alfa will also sell a mid-sized sedan and station wagon when in the United States starting in late 2012. These two vehicles will have the name Giulia and in Europe will replace the 159 range. They will be built in Italy.
Alfa will also sell in the United States a five-door version of its MiTo minicar, which is currently sold in Europe as a three-door. The five-door MiTo will be sold in Europe and North America starting in 2013.
Alfa will launch the Giulietta in North America after the car gets a face-lift in 2014. The Giulietta makes its European debut in May.
Alfa will continue to build the Mito and Giulietta in Italy.