FCA (aka Fiat Chrysler) will invest more than €500 million or~$540 million to produce two new engines for its Alfa Romeo brand as part its attempt to revive the once proud Italian marque that now only sells two cheap hatchbacks and a world class sports car. The expansion will be financed by Chrysler since without its growing profits, the Fiat Group would have lost money since Q2 of 2011.
The expansion announcement comes after the global success of the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe, an impressive performer on the road and global sales charts with more than 3000 units sold, and an 18-month waiting list. The new 4C Spider just rolling out will prove an even more formidable entry in the supercar class in performance, but not with a mega-price with its $65,000 to +$85,000 range, excluding dealer gouging for the short supply car. (Alfa Romeo 4C Debuts at Geneva – 2014 Model is U.S. Comeback Car)
4C is arguably the best buy in hot two-seaters, although Chevrolet Corvette certainly has a claim to the title as well. The Italian built 4C with – 160 mph top speed, zero-60 mph in 4.1seconds s 1.3 seconds faster the Porsche Cayman and 0.5 seconds quicker than the 911, both of which are considerably more expensive.
The two new Alfa engines will be built at the Group’s plant in Termoli, Italy with both e intended for future Alfa Romeo models. CEO Sergio Marchionne said they would play an important role in the planned global re-launch of the 105 year old brand.
The first engine is a high output 4-cylinder developed for Alfa Romeo. The second is a Ferrari-derived 6-cylinder, which has also been developed for Alfa Romeo.
With installed production capacity for the two engines of more than 200,000 units, the plant will be capable of meeting approximately half of the total volumes projected in Alfa Romeo’s ambitious expansion plan for 2018. Work to retool the plant, which also builds transmissions, is already underway and should be completed within six months, during which employees will also receive the necessary training.
The new production activities will enable the number of employees on temporary layoff at Termoli where 2,400 are currently employed to be reduced to zero. In addition, over the next few months 50 people will be hired, including positions related to a third shift necessary in transmission production.
“This high tech project is an integral part of our bet on Alfa Romeo,” said Sergio Marchionne to plant employees.
FCA is also working with Mazda Motor Corporation that will have Mazda produce a convertible two-seater sports car for Alfa Romeo brand at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan plant starting in 2015. (See AutoInformed on Mazda and Fiat Sign Agreement for New Alfa Romeo Roadster)
The new Alfa Romeo roadster will be developed for the global market, and will be based on the architecture of the next generation Mazda MX-5. The agreement, according to Fiat will allow Mazda and Fiat to develop “two differentiated, distinctly styled,” brand-specific rear-wheel drive roadsters. Specific proprietary engines unique to each brand will power each the Mazda and Alfa Romeo semi-clones.