Reid Bigland, up until this morning, was the president and CEO of the Ram brand, and that made sense. First of all, his name was Reid Bigland, and he looked the part. Now he's in charge of possibly the most delicate mainstream cars in the world.
Yep, Chrysler announced that Bigland is moving to run Alfa Romeo here in North America. It all comes from this very brief report from Automotive News, which also mentions that Robert Hegbloom is moving into Bigland's shoes at Ram.
Now, I can't say if this is a great move or not. Ram has certainly come a long way in its image in the past year that Bigland's been around, and Alfa could certainly use some of that mojo.
What I don't know is how well any current Italian brand can manage here in America. There's a question of product, and there's a question of perception.
This weekend we saw America's top concours d'elegance at Monterey's Pebble Beach. I couldn't have counted all of the Maseratis, Alfas, Ferraris, Dinos, DeTomasos if I tried. A Countach went for $900,000 at auction (that's it in bronze above), Horacio Pagani toured the streets in his own Zonda, and a Ferrari even won the top honors of the concours. It's the first postwar car to win in about half a century.
That certainly seems to answer the perception question, at least at the tip top of the luxury market.
I guess I have two questions for you, the reader — does it finally look like America is ready for Italian cars, and (perhaps more critically) are Italian brands good enough to make big sales here in the US?
Photo Credit: RM Auctions