Alfa male is down on Dodge
Fans of affordable Italian get heavyhitting support
BUILDING the dormant Alfa Romeo and Fiat brands are the priorities for the man charged with overseeing the Fiat Chrysler group in the AsiaPacific region.
That’s good news for fans of Italian cars, not so much for American aficionados.
Asia-Pacific head of Jeep, Fiat and Alfa Mike Manley rules out a right-hand drive version of the Dodge Dart compact sedan, at least in the current generation, because it shares much of its underpinnings with the Alfa Giulietta already on sale here.
‘‘ Dodge has basically become a North American brand,’’ Manley says.
‘‘ Progressively I’ve removed Dodge from markets around the world. I’ve taken it out of Europe, I’ve taken it out of China. That said, Dodge is a loved brand in Australia, whether it’s the American heritage or the muscle cars. The theory is yes, in practice you can never say never.
‘‘ We’re looking at how we develop the portfolio with brands to make sure we have a viable product plan for our dealers and for us to grow our business. And I think in that area, Alfa Romeo has huge potential.’’
Manley says the Fiat-badge Viaggio, also based on the Giulietta, is one possibility. The Viaggio is the spearhead for Fiat’s push in India, which, being a right-hand drive market, gives Fiat’s Australian operation the sort of access neither it nor Alfa had under the previous importer Ateco.
Both badges sell in the low double figures each month.
Fiat Chrysler Group Australia spokeswoman Lenore Fletcher says: ‘‘ If it has a steering wheel on the right hand side, we’ll look at it. We’re doing that now.’’
Potential: The Fiat-badged Viaggio, based on the Alfa Giulietta, has a righthand drive version