|Torino, Italia – Alfa Romeon paluu USA:n markkinoille on tuotemerkin uuden päällikön Harald Westerin työjärjestyksen kärjessä. |
Fiat S.p.A. on tänään luonut uuden tuoteryhmän urheilulliselle Alfa Romeo, Maserati ja Abarth brändeilleen.
Tuoteryhmää johtaa Wester, joka on tällä hetkellä Maserati ja Abarth tuotetyhmien johtaja ja sen lisäksi Fiat S.p.A:n ja Fiat Group of Automobiles:in tekninen ja johtaja. Wester pitää myös jatkossa nykyiset vastuunsa.
U.S. comeback tops agenda of new Alfa Romeo CEO
Automotive News -- January 22, 2010 - 12:17 pm ET
In his new role, Harald Wester is expected to identify potential synergies between Maserati and the money-losing Alfa Romeo.
TURIN, Italy -- Alfa Romeo’s return to the U.S. market tops the agenda of the brand’s new chief, Harald Wester.
Fiat S.p.A. today created a new brand group for its sporty Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands.
The group is headed by Wester, who is currently CEO of Maserati and Abarth as well as chief technical officer at Fiat S.p.A. and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. Wester will keep all of his current job responsibilities.
“The purpose of bringing the Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands under the same leadership is to emphasize and leverage the value of the shared qualities of the three brands in terms of their sporting characteristics and performance,” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
“Harald Wester, who has demonstrated his enormous commitment on several fronts and achieved optimum results, will bring strong leadership capabilities and solid technical experience and know-how to this project.”
In his new role, Wester is expected to identify potential synergies between Maserati and the money-losing Alfa Romeo, which is undergoing a strategic review of its future.
This strategic review includes an eventual return to the U.S. market for Alfa, which exited the United States in 1995. The first comeback, announced in March 2000, was set for 2004. The latest plan, announced last year, rescheduled the comeback to mid-2012.
Sources say that Fiat is considering two plans for the future of Alfa.
The first option is to use platforms from Chrysler Group, of which Fiat owns 20 percent, to underpin a front-drive mid-sized sedan to replace the 159 and a rear-drive large sedan to replace the 166. Both new models would be built in North America and are scheduled to debut in mid-2012 and 2013.
This option includes selling in North America these two Alfa models built in the United States and in Canada.
The second option is reducing Alfa to a Europe-only, two-model range.
The review of Alfa is due to be completed by mid-April, when Fiat will unveil a strategic plan for the group for 2010 to 2014.
Alfa has lost between 200 million and 400 million euros ($288 million to $566 million) a year in the past 10 years, according to sources.
Alfa’s new-car sales have declined steeply in the past decade as its range became older and new products were delayed.
Last year, Alfa’s sales in Europe bounced back 8.1 percent to 110,545 units, according to ACEA, the association of European automakers, about half of the 203,000 units sold in 2000.
Wester, 51, is a German engineer who joined Fiat in 2004 from Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr.
In his five years at Fiat, Wester has accelerated the automaker’s use of virtual engineering. This has helped slash time to market for vehicles based on existing platforms. It took 26 months to get the Fiat Stilo ready for its 2001 debut while it took just 15 months to launch the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Lancia Delta in 2007.
Wester began his automotive career in 1991 with Volkswagen AG at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, where he was general manager of vehicle research and new concepts. He later moved to VW premium brand Audi to be program manager for the all-aluminum A2 entry-premium car.
In 2000 and 2001, Wester worked at Fiat subsidiary Ferrari as director of product development. He moved to Magna Steyr in January 2002 to be its group president of engineering and chief technical officer.
In November 2004, he rejoined Fiat as the group’s chief technical officer. In August 2008, he was named Maserati CEO. Five months later he added the role of Abarth CEO.
Maserati has been owned by Fiat since 1993.
The Abarth subbrand, comprising sporty versions of the Fiat Punto and 500 subcompact cars, was relaunched at the 2007 Geneva auto show.
Alfa’s former CEO, Sergio Cravero, 49, was reassigned to head of product portfolio planning and product concept at Fiat Group Automobiles.
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