NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As the world waits to see if Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) can find a marriage partner -- be it General Motors (GM) or another -- the automaker is sprucing itself up to be as attractive a bride as possible.
This week in Italy, CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled the Alfa Romeo Giulia, a sedan designed to compete with BMW's vaunted 3 series. Marchionne outlined a 5 billion euro ($5.6 billion) capital outlay plan to develop new vehicles for Alfa Romeo, including the Giulia and seven other new models.
By 2018, Marchionne has projected Alfa Romeo sales at 400,000 vehicles a year, including about 150,000 in North America.
Over the past month, investors have shown relative indifference to the conversation about FCA's future. Since May, FCA shares have lost 1.7% in value, roughly in line with the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
To the extent his forecast is deemed credible, it could prove powerful catnip to lure another automaker into a deal. Luxury automotive franchises are regarded as extremely valuable in the industry because they often generate outsize profit, compared to mainstream brands.
Until now, Alfa Romeo joining the ranks of the BMWs and Lexuses of the world has looked more like a pipe dream. Last year, FCA fired the first salvo in the brand's offensive, the 4C coupe. The 4C, which starts at $66,000, won plaudits and strong reviews, but only 2,500 of the hand-built cars will be produced in Modena, Italy -- a number too small to make a difference on FCA's financial statement.