Since the return of the engineer Roberto Fedeli to Italy was announced, rumors say he is the only one able to develop hybrid vehicles for Fca as the LaFerrari (his creation, but who came up with such a name?) is the only hybrid produced by the group. At least until a month ago, when the Chrysler Pacifica was presented in Detroit.
As a matter of fact, Fca needs hybrid vehicles as soon as possible (see previous post) but the role given to Fedeli – Chief Technical Officer for Alfa Romeo and Maserati – by Marchionne – goes well beyond the need to cut emissions.
The ‘skunk works’ original approach which was strongly wanted by Marchionne (who is known to be against the strict German and Japanese product process discipline) doesn’t seem to have worked and the management has been forced to put off the launch of the new products. That applies especially for the Giulia, which apparently hasn’t even passed the internal crash tests.
An easily predictable result, according to certain insiders; it is said that the team which is made up of people who do not have adequate experience, was told to buy dozens of cars from the competitors and to select the best components from each one.
Apparently this sophisticated benchmarking practice revealed that the only car worth something was the BMW 3 Series to which the designers of the new Giulia had already taken wide inspiration.
Therefore it shouldn’t be a surprise that Fedeli, who comes from 16 months in BMW and 26 years in Ferrari, has been called back. He has the unpleasant task of putting things right and make up lost time.
It is certainly a strong message for Harald Wester, the ineffable German engineer CEO of Alfa and Maserati and head of the product development for all the brands of the group to which Fedeli will have to formally report. Fedeli’s choice definitely leaves him out from the list of candidates that will succeed Marchionne, who seems for some time now to prefer other direct subordinates such as Ketter, Palmer, Gorlier and Manley.