Alfa Romeo could still insert a sports car and convertible into its new-model programme over the next three years, the company’s boss has suggested – and our exclusive images show what could be in store.
The Italian brand recently realigned its product plan, nudging back some launches from 2018 to the end of the current decade. The priorities after the new Giulia executive saloon are two SUVs – the first due to be unveiled later this year and likely to be called Stelvio, the second in 2018 – and a replacement for the existing Giulietta.
The new Giulietta is expected to arrive in 2017, and is likely to feature a rear-wheel-drive layout – achieved through the use of a shortened Giulia platform – which is unusual for a family hatch.
However, Alfa boss Harald Wester has revealed that there remains scope for additional models in the same timeframe. When asked if Alfa was considering a rear-drive sports coupe or convertible, he said: “When we communicated our revised product plan, with four major launches over the next five years and no mention of certain specialities, that does not mean there’s no space to do something like this.”
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He added: “There is a priority and natural sequence to what we’re doing. We need to ramp up the global distribution network and we’re asking many of our partners to invest heavily in this process. So we need to guarantee a constant supply of potential high-volume cars to sustain the business.
“What are the highest-volume convertibles – 30 or 40,000 cars per year? But Alfa Romeo needs cars like this in its range. And it will have cars like this in its range; it’s just a question of when.” The new Giulia’s platform and engine line-up are both said to be modular enough for much shorter vehicles – and stretchable to produce larger models.
Adding two-door coupe and convertible versions of the saloon would be a relatively cost-effective way for Alfa to widen its product portfolio, particularly in markets like the United States, which are expected to play a key role in the brand’s recovery.
Wester also revealed that Alfa’s existing sports car, the 4C, could receive upgrades – including a larger, more powerful engine. The Giulia has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor within its line-up; Wester confirmed that the 200bhp unit will be ramped up to 280bhp for a later edition – and that it could fit into the 4C. “We don’t have a definite plan at the moment, but that engine would work with that car,” he said. “The 4C will be around for some time and there are lots of possibilities to develop it further.”
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