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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

The incredible shrinking Alfa stand at Geneva

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The incredible shrinking Alfa stand at Geneva

December 14, 2010 - 11:45 pm ET

When he talks, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne conveys high hopes that the Alfa Romeo brand soon will be a huge business success, but actions often speak louder than words.

Fiat has massively reduced the size of the 100-year-old sporty brand’s stand at the forthcoming Geneva show.

In March, Alfa’s stand will shrink to 639 square meters from this year’s 979 square meters, which was the second-largest display space among Fiat Group’s portfolio after the Fiat brand.

In 2011, Alfa, which has been bleeding money for more than a decade, will have less space to show off its models than the Fiat, Lancia-Chrysler, Jeep, Ferrari and Maserati brands.

To add insult to injury, Ferrari and Maserati will grab Alfa's traditional space in Hall 3, literally pushing Alfa behind the corner in Hall 4. Ironically, Alfa will get Porsche’s longtime spot because it will relocate closer to controlling shareholder Volkswagen, which also has a sharp eye on the Italian automaker.

When asked about Alfa’s display-area downsizing, a Fiat spokesman said Alfa will get less space because it does not have anything new to show in 2011. The spokesman promised that Alfa’s stand will be larger in 2012.

Larger than what, the Abarth sub-brand or Dodge, both of which are minor players in Europe?

The more intriguing question is: How long it will take for VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech to capture his prey and move Alfa upstairs to Hall 1?

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20101214/BLOG12/312149999/1164#ixzz18Bc5eHBZ

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