It’s great to see confidence growing at Alfa Romeo. Are they getting carried away; thinking too big too quick, before more of their next-generation bread-and-butter models are even launched, let alone established in the market?
That may be what it looks like – but boss Jean-Philippe Imparato isn’t the sort to get distracted.
He talks, at every opportunity, about driving up quality and customer satisfaction. Of needing to guarantee profitability every year anew; and of succeeding at its growth plans by executing and delivering every new product to the market fully and properly, and only by doing so earning the right to move on to the next.
That’s the difference that the oversight of Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares has made: a consistent focus on the health of the business.
If, within that context, there can be room for a new Spider as a halo car – or even the new SZ-inspired coupe that design boss Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos was hinting at when I chatted to him a few months ago – then it’s a far different prospect than designing one within a pressure cooker, that needs to keep the business afloat all by itself.
It’s the job of the designers to design; to have many good proposals prepared and ready to go, and to make the decisions of business leaders tougher, though ultimately giving them options. And, especially if they can sell it in the US, an Alfa Spider might well be a more commercially viable idea than a coupe, to buyers of a certain age especially.
On balance, I’d rather see the company go bolder with a really jaw-dropping, eye-catching coupe than play to the crowd with a convertible. But whichever model is chosen, it should work wonders for the perception of the Alfa brand.