"It's a big stretch," Marchionne said. "The fastest recovery of Alfa is going to be out of Europe. I can afford to [miss] by X number of cars in the U.S. and still make it back up in Europe."
Alfa "is risky ... because a lot of good people have tried to do this stuff, and by definition not everybody's going to be successful. I think we have put in all the safeguards into that bet that we can, including the fact that I can stop the investment cycle if I want to."
The Giulia carries impressive performance numbers but, more important for FCA, rides on a new platform that can be used globally to underpin different rear-wheel-drive cars, crossovers and SUVs for several brands.
For example, at a dealer show in Las Vegas last week, Dodge showed a next-generation Charger and a convertible Barracuda that will be developed off the Giulia's platform.
Most of those future products -- for Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Chrysler, as well as Alfa -- are still years away. For now, Marchionne must run FCA as it is and wait to see if his Alfa bet pays off.