Alfa Romeo & Chrysler given 10 years to prove their worth
I knew this day would come
We don't know what lies ahead for Stellantis, but we do know what the two car groups that formed this new giant, PSA and FCA, are leaving behind. Under Tavares leadership, PSA brought back the 'DS' namesake from the dead and revamped Opel and Peugeot; by contrast, with the exception of Jeep, most brands that (used to) comprise FCA are fundamentally worse off than it was before the Fiat-Chrysler partnership began. When it comes to Stellantis, everybody talks about a 'merger', but we should remember that 6 of 11 members of the board, and the CEO Carlos Tavares, come from PSA.
In an interview with Autocar, Tavares was clear: Alfa and Chrysler have ten years to get their act together. "We're giving each a chance, giving each a time window of ten years and giving funding for ten years to do a core model strategy. The CEOs need to be clear in brand promise, customers, targets and brand communications," Tavares said. ""If they succeed, great. Each brand is given the chance to do something different and appeal to customers."
The potential is enormous but too many mistakes have been made and time is running out. The Giulia is a prime example, it is a fantastic car but a terrible product. Everybody loved it, no one bought one. Chrysler's position is perhaps even worse. It only has two models, three if we count the 300, none of them are selling very well and, unlike Alfa, they can't even appeal to petroheads anymore.
Jean-Philippe Imparato, former Peugeot boss and current CEO of Alfa, is already trying to turn the tide with the new STLA Large architecture, a platform that Alfa will use to build a variety of different vehicles that should boost sales. The Tonale will soon join the Giulia and the Stelvio in the line-up, followed by the Brennero and the Milano.
It's sad to see these legendary brands wither but unfortunately, in the current automotive landscape, giant car groups like Stellantis have to work hard to make sure each brand they own has a purpose and can stand on its feet in terms of commercial performance and/or profitability.