Alfa Romeo’s projections for China withdrawn by Marchionne

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Sergio Marchionne’s plans to increase sales for the Alfa Romeo and Maserati carmakers are turning out to be weaker than predicted. The CEO of Chrysler stated last week that the growth plans for Alfa Romeo and Maserati have to be reappraised because of China’s strict import policies. This shows us once again that publicly announcing ambitious sales targets is not always the best thing to do. Yesterday Marchionne told Wall Street analysts that “I still think that Alfa belongs in China. The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.” Marchionne joins General Motors, Volkswagen and other carmakers in a common lesson as back in 2012, former GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson had to lower his initial goal to sell 45,000 Chevrolet Volts that year and Volkswagen’s former head, Martin Winterkorn wanted to sell 800,000 cars every year through 2018, which seems impossible now after the VW emissions scandal broke out. Dave Sullivan, an automotive analyst for AutoPacific said that “The practice of putting sales targets out is often a faux paus for automotive executives. You can’t always predict what is going to happen on a global scale.” On Wednesday, Marchionne had to pull back his expectations regarding Alfa Romeo and Maserati sales. In 2014, Marchionne set a goal to sell 400,000 Alfa Romeo models and 75,000 Maserati units each year by 2018, an increase from 68,000 and 36,500 respectively in 2014. FCA’s head did say that Maserati sales will increase in 2016 with the launch of the new Levante SUV, adding that it takes time for the brand to build its sales to a steady level until 2018. FCA will also spend $5.5 billion by 2018 to launch eight new Alfa Romeo models in order to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.