4c-opening-edition

Europe is in trouble, financially, and carmakers from the Continent who traditonally rely on home ground performance are feeling the heat. It is therefore imperative that European carmakers derive the bulk of their sales and earnings from other markets – China and South America contribute greatly to Volkswagen’s coffers, for instance.

It’s much harder for the smaller brands like Alfa Romeo. Last year, Europe accounted for about 90% of Alfa’s 101,000 total sales, but Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne’s is targeting global sales to more than 300,000 units by 2016. What cars? Sold where?

To support the target, Alfa Romeo will be returning to the US, a market that it pulled out from in 1995. Alfa says Europe and the US will be its two largest markets by 2016 “Alfa’s brand awareness in the US is still at a relevant level despite an absence of nearly 20 years,” Alfa’s European boss, Louis-Carl Vignon told Automotive News Europe.

4c-rear

Spearheading Alfa’s US return is the 4C sports car that debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. At the show, Alfa introduced an “Opening Edition” of the 4C coupe with carbon fibre inserts in the headlamps and rear spoiler. 1,000 units of this special edition will be sold from 60,000 euros in Europe.

June will see Alfa open order books for the regular 4C, which will start at around 55,000 euros. Alfa plans to build about 700 4Cs this year, with deliveries in the continent due to start in September. RHD variants will arrive at dealers one month later, before it makes its US debut in November.

The report adds that by the end of 2014, a “targa” 4C with a small removable carbon fibre roof will join the range. Alfa plans to make 26,000 units of the 4C coupe and targa over a seven-year life cycle.

All very cool, but the 4C will not bring in the volume for Alfa, which ambitious target hinges on the mid-sized Giulia sedan/wagon and a large-premium sedan based on the new Maserati Ghibli‘s underpinnings. The latter will be Alfa’s flagship and rival to the likes of BMW’s 5-Series and Audi’s A6, contributing 30k units annually. Sales will start in 2015 in US, Europe and China.

Maserati-Ghibli-5

2015 will also see Alfa introduce the Giulia, which is expected to account for a third of the marque’s total volume. “A mid-sized sedan is fundamental in North America, where this type of vehicle covers 20% of total sales and is also crucial in Asia-Pacific, where represents almost 9% of demand,” Vignon said. In Europe, 40% of mid-sized models are wagons, which is why Alfa is making an estate.

There’s more. Alfa is set launch a rear-wheel drive two-seat roadster. You would have read that this future Spider is being co-developed with Mazda, which will build the Alfa alongside the next MX-5 in Japan. Italian style with Japanese reliability, coming your way in 2015.

The final piece in the jigsaw will be a mid-sized SUV. Exciting times ahead for the Cuore Sportivo brand!