DETROIT -- Alfa Romeo will resemble BMW in products and pricing when it offers a full lineup through 2018, executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles suggested last week during the auto show here.
The company will reveal many of the revived brand's characteristics when it unveils an Alfa Romeo sedan on June 24 in Italy. The sedan goes on sale in the United States this summer.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said that other vehicles would follow every six to nine months until Alfa Romeo had filled out its lineup. The new vehicles will be rear-wheel drive, executives said.
Asked if the sedan due in June would carry the historic Giulia name, Harald Wester -- Alfa Romeo's global head and the man leading the brand's resurrection -- declined to say. But he said that the Giulia and Giulietta nameplates "are milestones in Alfa's history, which are worthwhile to be reconsidered."
He said the sedan would compete with the performance version of BMW's 3 series. The BMW M3, a high-performance 3 series, starts at $62,950, including shipping.
For U.S. dealers, the next Alfa Romeo is important because it represents the brand's first high-volume vehicle. In November, Alfa Romeo began selling new cars in the U.S. for the first time since 1995. Dealers sold just 91 Alfa Romeo 4Cs during November and December. A 4C Spider convertible, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, is due in U.S. showrooms this summer.
Alfa Romeo wants to reach 400,000 annual sales globally with the redesigned lineup by 2018. The two-seat 4C and 4C Spider are expected to account for only about 3,000 sales per year worldwide.
About 150,000 of the 400,000 annual global sales goal for Alfa Romeo are expected to come from North American consumers, said Reid Bigland, Alfa Romeo's brand head in North America.
Future Alfa Romeo customers -- the brand refers to its enthusiasts as 'Alfisti' -- are car enthusiasts who are more likely to be drivers of high-end German or Japanese sports cars now than to be Alfa Romeo owners before the brand left the U.S., Wester said.
Marchionne said Alfa Romeo will again "play with the big boys" in the premium segment such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. He said it was not that long ago that the Germans "used to look at Alfa with envy."
That day will return, he said, thanks to 800 engineers working in "bunkers" on future Alfa Romeo vehicles.
He predicted that Alfa Romeo will achieve its product goals -- and have a successful distribution network in the United States -- before a certain electric-powered rival achieves its lofty sales goals.
Marchionne said, "Before Tesla does its stuff, we'll do ours."