Design Woes Keep Alfa Romeo from U.S. Until 2013

2009 Alfa Romeo MiTo

Alfa Romeo MiTo

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 logoAlfa 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.

Marchionne cited styling issues that need fixing before the 2013 Alfa Romeo Giulia, and its Chrysler 200– and Dodge Avenger-replacing cousins, are ready for release both in the States and abroad.

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?

-tgriffith

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2 Comments

  1. What he really needs to do is inject a little more Don Trump “You’re fired!!” and a bit less Sergio. Oddly, our local paper (down the street from Chrysler headquarters) recently ran an article about Chrysler being out of room at the Chrysler headquarters and tech center and needed to rent dig for all the new people they are hiring. The tech center was built just pre-Daimler to house a MUCH LARGER Chrysler at the time, and had no problems housing Daimler-Chrysler. It’s a huge complex, and now they need more room to house all those people to engineer their post-bankrupt downsized lineup? Odd and sad that these people never learn to operate a lean company. I predict big things for Chrysler, namely another bankruptcy and liquidation.

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