June 25, 2015
It is no secret that Sergio Marchionne is using Alfa Romeo to court bigger automakers for a chance at a merger. I even get where he is coming from, if established companies join forces, each of them benefit from the other’s expertise. However, in this case I highly doubt it is Mary T. Barra’s personality Marchionne is going for… I know a gold digger when I see one. It is common knowledge that FCA is not flush with cash, but what they have should be more than enough to reinvigorate their brand if people love Alfa Romeo Giulia as much as I do. Not long ago Fiat was on the verge of bankruptcy, Marchionne turned that all around with… well, he did make great strides trimming the gristle off of Fiat, but what solidified his legacy? Ding, ding, ding a merger. That, was a different scenario entirely. To keep this very basic, the FCA merger was mutually beneficial. Chrysler was teetering on the edge; they had the option to either liquify, or to allow the US government to lead them through bankruptcy. The bankruptcy route ended with Chrysler in the clutches of Fiat. In that merger, Chrysler was the reacher with Fiat settling. Fiat had all the money, and they had a solid lineup of efficient cars. Chrysler gave them the clout of the third largest US automaker, which happened to be in possession of two of the most iconic names American automotive history: Jeep and Ram. Despite the huge turnaround for both companies, FCA’s total sales were still relatively low, when compared to the big 3 (Toyota, Volkswagen, and General Motors). That's is why Marchionne was (is) desperate for an automotive alliance, he wants their money so he can improve internally. However, I argue that he is doing fine for now, meteoric growth often lead to mistakes. I purpose; what any person should do when the object of their desire rejects their advances; retreat, regroup, and improve. Marchionne started the latter by unveiling the Alfa Romeo Giulia ahead of schedule, but has not even almost retreated. If it were possible to have the premiere in Barra’s Office, Marchionne would have dropped the curtain on Giulia singing (she starts singing exactly 34 seconds in) on center stage while, he stared into her eyes. Joking aside, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a great first step in reinvigorating the FCA brand. GM’s only comparable option to the neck-snapping sedan is the ATS-V, which is a great car, but is going to have a hard time keeping up with the Giulia. By that I mean that the Giulia is hungry for M powered blood… or oil… whatever. If the Italian automaker is even half serious in that bold claim, I might have to do drastic things for money so I can buy that car. I personally find the Giulia much more aesthetically pleasing, but that is only skin deep. The Alfa also sounds like God Snoring. the The ATS-V has a 3.6 liter twin turbo V6, which is indeed is very exciting, but the Giulia engine is a masterpiece. The Ferrari designed twin-turbo 3 liter V6 will produce 503 horsepower, 40 more than the larger GM. Pair that with all the magic that Alfa did with the suspension and weight saving and you have a car with 3 kg per horse. That, is what GM needs. If GM had a friend in Ferrari, damage could be done. Barra could make a rival for the next model Supra and Skyline. The best news is the fact that Giulia is only the first of many. Marchionne promised 8 new Alfas (including 2 SUVs questioning the Q5 and Q7’s credibility) by 2018. He plans on releasing a new auto every 6 to 9 months until 2018, but is also stated he would pull the plug if Giulia doesn’t turn heads, and/or M5 enthusiasts over to the Italian side. I do not doubt Fiat and Ferrari engineers have what it takes to reinvigorate their own brands; it is going to take a grand slam to take FCA and possibly GM home too, but if anyone can do it, it is Alfa Romeo and Sergio Marchionne.