Pictured on the passenger side of the Fiat 500 is Luca de Meo. Sergio Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian and Fiat CEO, has appointed de Meo to be head of Fiat-owned Alfa Romeo. Poor Alfa; a brand that has struggled with dealers, reliability, and positioning. It is now Luca de Meo’s turn to try and sort it all out. Antonio Baravalle was the last to make an attempt. Alfa, somewhat like Ford earlier this decade, has introduced a halo model far above the regular production models available in their showrooms. Granted, just like the Ford GT, Alfa’s 8C Competizione is a wonderful vehicle. As far as its bearing on the Alfa’s people like you and I could drive…. the 8C becomes nigh-on inconsequential.
“One of De Meo’s duties is to take an out-of-the-box approach to Alfa’s US return.” Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne.
“It will be more difficult than Fiat – at least with Fiat we knew where to start.” Alfa Romeo’s new CEO and still Chief Marketing Officer across the Fiat Group, Luca de Meo.
“If we can do it there, it should work anywhere.” Luca de Meo references the United Kingdom market, where Alfa saw a 30-40% increase in sales last year, making it the fastest growing brand in the UK. This came after a total revamp of the dealer network and a 50% reduction in showrooms.
“The difference this time, is that I am going to do it.” Luca de Meo responds to the fact that Karl-Heinz Kalbfell and Antonio Baravalle have made noble attempt towards the same goal.
“Alfa Romeos need to be compact, agile, pretty powerful, beautiful and with a good engine noise. It’s not rocket science, but it’s difficult to actually do.” Mr. de Meo succinctly describes the perfect Alfa Romeo and the difficulty to produce it.
“This is the man who I have given the unforgivable task of trying to fix Alfa Romeo.” Sergio Marchionne describes the difficult job description as he introduces his problem solver, Luca de Meo.