Biscione means “snake” in Italian. It also means “Alfa Romeo” to auto buffs worldwide, as a biscione has been part of Alfa Romeo’s coat of arms since the company was founded in 1910.
The automaker’s commercial fortunes have been twisting, biscione-like, over the years, but its reputation as a maker of pulse-pounding sports cars has never faded. So when Sergio Marchionne, CEO of what is now the FCA Group, which owns Alfa Romeo, decided in 2013 to relaunch the brand, he had more than a century’s worth of DNA to tap.
Marchionne also had an ambitious goal: to bring Alfa Romeo’s sales from 74,000 cars in 2013 to 400,000 cars by 2018. The target and the time allotted to achieve it made this “a Don Quixote quest,” notes Valerio Bisogno of Alfa Romeo.
By starting with the top-end performance, we produced better performance down the line, regardless of horsepower.
Valerio Bisogno, Alfa Romeo
Bisogno is chief engineer for the Giulia, the first model introduced by the company in this new program.
The initiative was code-named Project Giorgio to keep its existence secret. The engineers hired for it were sequestered from the rest of the Fiat group in a skunkworks setup, which was so effective that no information leaked out prior to the introduction of the Giulia on June 24, 2015.