Archive for September, 2014

Bigland joins congress lineup

September 22, 2014 – 12:01 am ET

Reid Bigland, head of Chrysler Group’s U.S. and Canadian sales and newly named executive in charge of Alfa Romeo’s return to North America, will speak at the Automotive News World Congress on Jan. 14.

One of the rising stars at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Bigland, 47, led the company’s fast-growing Ram brand before assuming responsibility for Alfa Romeo in the NAFTA region last month.

The Alfa post is a new one for Chrysler. Bigland keeps the U.S. sales job and also remains CEO of Chrysler Canada. Since June he has been a member of the Chrysler Group board.

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Marchionne to become Ferrari chairman as Montezemolo quits

September 10, 2014 08:57 CET — UPDATED: Sept. 10 15:30 CET – adds comments

MILAN — Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will step down as chairman of Ferrari as of Oct. 13 and will be replaced by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Fiat said in a statement today.

The departure of Montezemolo, 67, was widely expected after escalating clashes between the two executives over strategy and the role of Ferrari within the Fiat group.

Ferrari is a key component of Marchionne’s plans to expand in luxury cars to better compete with Volkswagen, which owns Lamborghini among its stable of high-end nameplates.

Montezemolo wanted to maintain Ferrari’s autonomous status and limit sales to about 7,000 cars a year to preserve the brand’s exclusive allure. That clashed with Marchionne’s goal of having Ferrari bolster a shift by Fiat into upscale cars as part of its merger with Chrysler Group.

Marchionne told reporters today that Ferrari will continue to limit annual sales but may gradually raise the cap to cater for rising demand. The cap could undergo “small changes” in some markets to prevent rivals getting an advantage by letting waiting lists get too long, he said. A Ferrari spokesman said the U.S. is one of the markets where demand for Ferrari cars is strong.

Ferrari will continue to provide engineering assistance to Fiat Group’s Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands to improve the quality of their cars. “Ferrari is a good school. Its importance within the group should not be underestimated,” Marchionne said.

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Alfa Romeo readies product offensive

September 1, 2014 06:01 CET

TURIN — Alfa Romeo has started development on three new models that will be key to the struggling brand’s turnaround. The cars are a midsize sedan to rival the BMW 5 series, a midsize SUV that will take on models such as the Audi Q5 and a flagship large sedan.

The cars are the first wave of eight new Alfas announced May 6 as part of a 5 billion euro ($7 billion) investment to boost the brand’s global sales to 400,000 vehicles in 2018 from 74,000 last year.

Alfa and its parent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, have declined to give specifics on the brand’s upcoming models since the May announcement when Alfa CEO Harald Wester also said the brand will switch to rear- and all-wheel drive configurations from front-wheel drive.

Here is Alfa’s latest future product plan, according to Automotive News Europe sources:

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Alfa Romeo is bound for U.S. but details are scant

September 1, 2014

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s ambitious new plan for struggling Alfa Romeo calls for the sporty brand to expand its lineup and switch from front- to rear- and all-wheel drive.

One low-volume car, the 4C coupe, is due in showrooms this month. In May, the automaker said that eight new high-volume nameplates are in the pipeline and will arrive by 2018.

But details of the products in the pipeline are limited.

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