TURIN – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has lured former Ferrari chief engineer Roberto Fedeli back from BMW Group to help fix mounting technical challenges. He will be chief technical officer at Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Fiat Chrysler confirmed the appointment without saying whether it is a newly created position or whether an executive has been fired or reassigned to accommodate the change.
Fedeli arrives at time when FCA has a number of technical problems to solve. The launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia is months behind schedule. Supplier sources have told Automotive News Europe the Giulia failed to pass internal front, side and rear crash tests, which has resulted in an extensive re-engineering that has added about six months to the midsize sedan's development time.
"We are not commenting in any way," an FCA spokesman told ANE, when asked whether the Giulia has been delayed.
The first Giulia, a high-performance Quadrifoglio version, was due to launch in Europe by the end of last year with the base Giulia scheduled for a European debut in March, European dealers were told last June.
The 510-hp Giulia Quadrifoglio is set to go in production on March 31, with deliveries to Italian dealers to begin by late May or early July. Giulia models with more mainstream engines, a 2.0-liter gasoline and a 2.2-liter diesel, will debut at the Geneva auto show in early March, but suppliers have not yet been given a production start date.
Maserati's product launch cadence also is off schedule. The automaker's first SUV, the Levante, was supposed to debut in mid-2015 but is not scheduled to go on sale until this summer. The production version of the Levante is expected to appear at next month's Geneva auto show.
Fedeli returns to Italy after a 16-month stint in Munich at BMW following 26 years at Ferrari. He rose to head of r&d for Ferrari's production-car division in 2007 and played a key role in creation of the LaFerrari, a hybrid supercar that sold out before its launch despite a price tag of more than 1-million euros plus taxes. The LaFerrari is also the only hybrid model produced by Fiat Chrysler so far.