With its entry into the Stellantis empire, Alfa Romeo is getting new management, new models, and a new strategy for taking on the challenging U.S. market. That’s according to the brand’s new head, Jean-Philippe Imparato. The Frenchman ran Peugeot until the Stellantis merger and has since been working hard, forming a team for Alfa. Filling the company with Italian executives, 40% of whom are women, the team will have the tall task of sparking new interest in the historic brand.
Although sales have grown 25% in the first quarter of 2021, Alfa still lags behind almost every other luxury automaker in the U.S. The Italian marque leads only Jaguar in terms of market share, per Automotive News. “We must improve the quality of our business model in terms of economic performance, product quality, and the right distribution channels,” Imparato said in a roundtable interview, the outlet reports.
That will mean adding two new crossovers to the lineup. The Tonale, a compact crossover based on the Jeep Compass is set to launch soon. Another smaller crossover will follow.
It may be called Brennero (a reference to a commune on the Austro-Italian border through which one of the most important highways in Europe passes) and could be based on PSA’s eCMP platform. That would enable Alfa to make both hybrid and fully electric versions. The diminutive size of the crossover might preclude it from being sold in America, though. Regardless, its platform flexibility will be the norm from now on, with Imparato saying that all future models will be electrified.
For those worried about electrification’s impact on Alfa, though, Imparato was clear that handling and performance will still be important for the brand. Moreover, he was complimentary about the “fantastic” Giulia and Stelvio. He said, though, that Alfa needs to be run by a dedicated team from Italy. And with the help of Larry Dominique, a 20-year veteran at Nissan North America, Imparato thinks that “Alfa Romeo has the potential to be the global premium brand of Stellantis.”