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William Maley

Alfa Romeo Begins Their $6 Billion Plan :Comments

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With the debut of the Alfa Romeo Giulia last week, Alfa Romeo has begun a product onslaught that will cost around $6 billion and challenge the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

 

Automotive News reports that Alfa Romeo is planning to have three models by the end of 2017, and another five the following year. This is part of plan to overhaul Alfa Romeo and increase sales from 70,000 vehicles last year to 400,000 by 2018. 150,000 sales are expected to come from North America.

 

Alongside the Giuila, there will be flagship sedan and a midsize SUV to arrive by 2017. 2018 will see a second SUV, midsize coupe, a speciality vehicle, and two compact models.

 

But there are a number of problems which could derail this plan. For starters, many believe Alfa Romeo's sales goal is bitting off more than they can chew. IHS Automotive forecasts that the brand will sell around 216,000 vehicles in 2018. There's also the worry of more delays. Suppliers tell Automotive News that production of the Giulia could be pushed back to the end of year, with sales in Europe delayed to next March. A source reports that the company is still having problems with NVH levels.

 

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)


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Alfa plans to go from 70,000 sales to 400,000 sales in 3 years?  Is it April Fool's day?

 

I can see them taking the Maserati Ghibli (which doesn't sell) and turning that into a flagship sedan for Alfa, turn the Cherokee into an SUV, I think them or Fiat is going to use some Miata tooling for a roadster.  But I don't think that is going to get them anywhere.  I don't really see Alfa Romeo as much of a luxury brand anyway, more like a Buick or Chrysler level brand, Lincoln at best, but in Europe.

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Actually the Ghibli is doing rather well for a brand that essentially didn't exist in the US 3 years ago playing in a segment with relatively low volumes. 

 

Edit: Looking it up, they sell somewhere around 750 Ghiblis a month.  Like I said, not too bad for the segment it plays in. A little more than double the sales of the 6-series with only a $5k discount over the BMW.

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Maserati has that mafia hitman sort of look to it, but I wonder how long they'll last.  The Quatroporte has never really gotten any traction against the S-class or Panamera.  The Gran Turismo looks cool, but the AMG GT is faster, newer, more reliable, etc.   There was probably some pent up demand for people that wanted an Italian car, just like how the Fiat 500 at first sold, then it cooled off.

 

The American market likes crossovers and trucks, not exactly Alfa territory.  Look how Jaguar struggles since they have sports cars and sedans only.  Even the home team Cadillac is struggling to move ATS and CTS, the Alfas will probably cost more with half the reliability, and less name recognition.  I don't see them selling anywhere near 150,000 cars a year in North America.

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Maserati has that mafia hitman sort of look to it, but I wonder how long they'll last.  The Quatroporte has never really gotten any traction against the S-class or Panamera.  The Gran Turismo looks cool, but the AMG GT is faster, newer, more reliable, etc.   There was probably some pent up demand for people that wanted an Italian car, just like how the Fiat 500 at first sold, then it cooled off.

 

The American market likes crossovers and trucks, not exactly Alfa territory.  Look how Jaguar struggles since they have sports cars and sedans only.  Even the home team Cadillac is struggling to move ATS and CTS, the Alfas will probably cost more with half the reliability, and less name recognition.  I don't see them selling anywhere near 150,000 cars a year in North America.

 

It really depends on how they position themselves price wise. If the new Giulia roughly matches the 3-series in price, and they bring a 5-series competitor out, I think they have a chance.  Alfa has three distinct advantages over Cadillac in this segment.  Roughly zero people in the target segment have seen one before so there is the "Brand New! Gotta Have!" factor there, there is no brand baggage in the US, and it is "Euro" which means "More Gooder!" to the general populace.

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I get all that Drew.. but my only question is why not simply have  Maserati pull this duty over bringing back Alfa? It historically has been a $h!ty brand here in the U.S. Kicked out of our market a coupla times in the past. 

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I get all that Drew.. but my only question is why not simply have  Maserati pull this duty over bringing back Alfa? It historically has been a $h!ty brand here in the U.S. Kicked out of our market a coupla times in the past. 

 

So has Maz.   I think they are trying to keep Maserati more high end.  The Ghibli with its $65k starting price is likely to be the cheapest model in their lineup.  They seem content to be a small volume ultra premium brand.  They even bring Italian spokeswomen/supermodels to the "local yokal hyuck hyuck"** auto journalist drive events and position themselves away from the other FCA cars to drive home their elite status.

 

Alfa can play in cheaper waters. 

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