Imparato confirmed that the launch of Alfa's upcoming Tonale compact utility vehicle -- a crucial model for the brand's revival -- has been delayed by 12 weeks. Company sources told Automotive News Europe earlier this month that Imparato has demanded better performance from the vehicle's plug-in hybrid powertrain, pushing back a sales introduction until early 2022.
Production of the Tonale will start at Stellantis' Pomigliano plant in Italy in March 2022 and its market launch will follow on June 4, 2022, Imparato said.
The Tonale will use the Jeep Compass's US Compact Wide underpinnings.
'Baby Alfa' delayed too
Imparato confirmed that a new Alfa model will be built in Poland. He did not give details about its size or launch date.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement on its Polish website on Dec. 29 that it will modernize a plant in Tychy, Poland, to build hybrid and full-electric Jeeps, Fiats and Alfa Romeos.
The first of three new models will go into production in the second half of 2022, the statement said.
According to Automotive News Europe sources, the Alfa version has been delayed by three months to April 2023.
The SUV will be positioned below the Tonale and could be named Brennero, after a mountain pass in northern Italy, Italian press reports say.
Giorgio platform written off
The axing of the Giorgio platform marks the end of the rear-wheel, all-wheel architecture announced in 2014 by then-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne as part of plans to transform the brand into a global challenger to German premium rivals such as BMW.
An Alfa Skunkworks team of engineers, designers and stylists developed technical innovations for the platform such as double-clutch Torque Vectoring in an effort to create sector-leading driving dynamics.
Alfa's 2014 revival strategy planned for eight models to be launched by the end of 2018 with global sales projected to grow to 400,000 vehicles by 2018 from 74,000 in 2013.
At that time, FCA said the Giorgio architecture was "flexible enough to be used by the Chrysler and Dodge brands because Alfa alone cannot generate sufficient volume to achieve worthwhile economies of scale."
No other FCA brands adopted the platform because it was too expensive. It is only used by the Giulia and Stelvio. The Maserati Grecale midsize SUV, which launches later this year, will use the platform because it shares underpinnings with the Stelvio.
Having invested an undisclosed amount on the Giorgio program, FCA was forced to write off just under 800 million euros of investments on the platform in 2019.
Former FCA CEO Mike Manley scaled back Alfa Romeo's product plans to just four vehicles: the Giulia and Stelvio, a compact SUV (the future Tonale) and a small crossover (the Brennero).
Imparato declined to discuss further Alfa Romeo further product announcements. He said Alfa is working both on a 5-year plan, which will be presented once it is approved and financed, and on a longer-term, 10-year program. "Once we have defined those plans, we will not change them because you must not change strategy every day," he said.
The new Alfa plan will be unveiled in the final quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2022 as part of a groupwide strategic blueprint for Stellantis.