Fiat said to delay rollout of new models due to China woes

Sluggish Chinese car sales are reportedly having an effect on the automaker's ability to manage finances this time around.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
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Maserati Alfieri
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Maserati Alfieri

Maserati's new sports car, based on the Alfieri concept, is reported as one of the models being pushed back to an undetermined date.

Josh Miller/CNET

For the second time this year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is reportedly pushing back introduction of multiple new models.

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, poor market growth in China is forcing the automaker to shift its spending away from the glut of new products just over the horizon. A new Maserati sports car based on the Alfieri concept and an Alfa Romeo crossover would likley be affected by the delay, sources said.

The reported delays are being blamed on China's sluggish economy, which Bloomberg said is forecast to grow at its slowest pace since 1990.

The report of possible new delays comes a few months after Reuters reported in June that FCA was delaying the introduction of several major new models, including replacements for the Ram 1500 pickup and the Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicle. The company, which is 10.3 billion euros ($11 billion) in debt, hopes to find a merger partner before investing billions of dollars in new vehicles.

So far, no automaker has answered CEO Sergio Marchionne's call. But the current alleged delay would not be related nothing to the desire for a merger. Instead, it's all about putting the money where it matters -- cars that are already guaranteed successes. Bloomberg reports that FCA's spending would move to the Alfa Romeo Guilietta and MiTo, both of which are popular outside the US.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has not yet responded to a request for comment.

FCA is not canceling all its projects, though. The group recently unveiled the all-new Fiat 124 Spider at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and Maserati is set to introduce a crossover called the Levante. FCA also recently filed a trademark application for "Aspen," which could signal the rebirth of Chrysler's three-row SUV based off the Dodge Durango. So all hope is not lost for diehard fans of the brand. It might just be a case of a dream slightly deferred.