Alfa Romeo gets new Europe boss

MILAN — Alfa Romeo has a new boss for its European operations as the brand’s sales continue to plunge in the region while it waits for new products.

Arnaud Leclerc, an industry veteran who has worked for Honda and PSA Group, has been promoted to the role, Alfa Romeo’s parent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a news release.

Leclerc, 45, succeeds Alberto Cavaggioni, who has left the brand after a year as its Europe boss. Leclerc will report to FCA’s Europe chief, Pietro Gorlier, and Alfa’s global boss, Tim Kuniskis.

Leclerc will keep his current position as head of Alfa Romeo in the UK alongside this new role.

Cavaggioni has left the company to pursue other interests, an Alfa Romeo spokesman told Automotive News Europe. He joined Alfa Romeo in 2013. After a stint at Maserati, he became Alfa Romeo’s Europe head in March 2019.

Alfa’s sales in the European Union dropped 36 percent to 50,830 vehicles last year, according to industry association ACEA. Its volume for the whole of the EU was lower than that of Lancia, which sold 58,903 units of its sole product, the Ypsilon hatchback, in its only market, Italy.

Alfa is counting on new launches to revive sales. These include the Tonale compact SUV due next year and mid-cycle updates of the Giulia midsize sedan and Stelvio midsize SUV, also planned for next year.

The brand is due to get a small SUV in 2022 but Alfa’s plans could change following next year’s expected merger of FCA and PSA as the two groups start to consolidate platforms.

Alfa’s lineup currently comprises three vehicles – the Giulia, Stelvio and the Giulietta compact hatchback. The brand dropped the slow-selling Mito small hatchback and low production 4C coupe and roadster.

FCA has scaled back Alfa’s product plans, with two planned Alfa sports cars and a large SUV axed, and the Giulietta to be dropped from the lineup.