In the past, Chrysler designers could draw up a vehicle of questionable design, get it signed off by management, see it hit the production lines and then watch it languish on dealer lots.
The fact that the cars sold only to retirees and rental companies was a job for the marketing department, not the designers.
Thankfully for everyone, those days are ending, thanks to a harsh CEO who expects nothing less than greatness and won’t accept another sub-par design.
Alfa Romeo, previously due to return to U.S. glory in 2012, is reportedly delaying its long-awaited comeback until 2013 because Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t satisfied with the proposed designs for the U.S. market.
Let me be the first to say thank you, Sergio! The last thing we need here is another poorly styled Chrysler product.
Ultimately, the delay can only be a good thing, but for now it leaves Chrysler and Alfa Romeo in a major lurch.
Without the Giulia to replace its 159, Alfa will have one of the weakest lineups in all of Europe, consisting of just three models: the subcompact MiTo, the aging 159 sedan and the compact Giulietta. Help is on the way, though, in the form of a new Jeep Compass-replacing SUV due in Europe and North America in 2012.
Spreading his “wrath against bad design” from Turin to Detroit, Marchionne has also expressed frustration with the efforts from Chrysler designers to reface the Giulia into replacements for the 200 and Avenger, models Chrysler hopes to debut in 2013. Since the two new Chryslers will share a platform with the Giulia, a delay for one means a delay for the others.
We know the designers at Chrysler are capable of greatness (2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee), as are the creatives at Alfa Romeo (8C Competizione). Marchionne should be applauded for having the cajones to accept nothing less, even if it means another year of mediocrity.
Would you buy an Alfa Romeo-based Chrysler?