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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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      It is incomparable and dramatically evolves the parameters of super-luxury travel, translating Rolls-Royce’s ethos of ‘Effortlessness’ into physical capability, anywhere in the world. Cullinan will simply take the world in its stride.”
      Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
      “The launch of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the luxury industry. Today we are setting a new standard by creating a new class of motoring and motor car for customers who are well-connected, highly mobile and have a global perspective. They want a new type of motor car that gives them unbounded access in ultimate luxury. Their sense of adventure and daring demands a “go-anywhere in ultimate luxury” motor car that will both take them to and meet them at the pinnacle of life. Cullinan is that motor-car.” 
      Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce and Member of the Board of the BMW Group.
      “From the very beginning the design team treated this brand new Rolls-Royce as a unique, high bodied car. With global customer expectations in mind, our aim was two-fold – realise a presence to match the magnificent capability of Cullinan, whilst setting sector defining standards for luxury and elegance. We know that many of our luxury patrons pursue sports or leisure hobbies that require precisely this type of go anywhere vehicle – Cullinan’s design gesture had to possess an immediate sense of effortless accomplishment.”
      “The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box high-bodied all-terrain car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability that would satisfy the adventurous urges of our clients.”
      Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
      “This landscape is savage, but this journey has been seamless. What's unique is the ability to absorb the road without thought and simply let yourself get lost. You don't so much drive as you float and it seems to get almost smoother the faster you go. The turning and the grip are unreal, almost hugging the road and seeming to glide above it. Sometimes making pictures is as much about getting there as it is about the image itself.”
      Cory Richards, National Geographic photographer and star of The Final Challenge.
      Cullinan at a glance
      The most anticipated car of 2018 and, quite possibly, the most anticipated Rolls-Royce of all time. Named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels. An all-terrain high-bodied car that makes the idea of authentic, luxury off-road travel a reality for the first time. Luxury travel is now Effortless, Everywhere. Contemporary and functional design ensures Cullinan gains iconic status in the face of increasingly bland SUV designs. The first “three-box” car in the SUV-sector. Cullinan’s rear partition wall creates a distinct environment for passengers, separated from the luggage compartment. The most practical of Rolls-Royces. Cullinan is the most versatile, family oriented, fun-to-drive super-luxury SUV available today. The second new Rolls-Royce to sit on the all-new aluminium ‘Architecture of Luxury’, Cullinan is the most technologically advanced, and only purpose-built, luxury SUV in the world. Tested to destruction all over the planet, Cullinan is an incredibly capable off-roader that sees the development of the ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ for off-road enjoyment, without sacrificing any Rolls-Royce on-road behaviour. Cullinan offers a suite of Bespoke features developed specifically for the many various lifestyles of its owners including the Viewing Suite and the Recreation Module. The 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine delivers 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb ft of torque to the all-new all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system needed to overcome any challenge. A century-long pedigree of adventurous quests and campaigns successfully carried out across all terrains thanks to the luxury offered by a stout vehicle that was swift, stealthy and dependable.  “A Rolls in the desert is above rubies” – T.E. Lawrence. Introduction
      When Rolls-Royce announced three years ago that it would launch Cullinan, it did so in the knowledge that its customers around the world had asked it to build “The Rolls-Royce of SUVs”, with luxury, performance and usability not seen before in the SUV market. Many of these customers were younger, very successful high-net-worth individuals who are heavily engaged in the experience economy, and wanted a Rolls-Royce that would take them to the ends of the Earth in ultimate luxury.
      Automotive mobility has always been a fast moving and dynamic business, with new concepts – such as SUVs – appearing with great regularity. But those new concepts need to be perfected in order to be adopted by those customers who will accept no compromise – the patrons of true luxury. Hence the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
      “History set our precedent, and today Rolls-Royce answers its call to action,” comments Müller-Ötvös. “Our answer to the visionaries, adventurers, explorers and those who believe in the supremacy of liberty is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.”
      What is Cullinan?
      The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Rolls-Royce as it’s never seen before. When Sir Henry Royce said, “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it”, he could have had Cullinan in mind.
      “We knew we had to offer our clients what they couldn’t find in the SUV market,” continues Müller-Ötvös. “They do not accept limitations or compromises in their lives. They are the new pioneers, and for them it’s about their sense of adventure and daring in how they live their experiences. This approach to life demands a motor car that can go-anywhere in ultimate luxury and style – Rolls-Royce style. Hence Cullinan.”
      It was clear that these new, younger and more adventurous customers wanted a Rolls-Royce that would take them completely off the beaten track and reward them with life’s most enriching experiences. What they didn’t want was a vehicle as ubiquitous as an SUV with compromises such as increased cabin noise due to the “two-box” formula; shared platforms that affect performance and comfort; the choice of being good either on-road or off-road; or a lower, more featureless SUV that blends in and becomes just another car.
      “Cullinan is luxury in its purest form blended with perfect practicality and off-road capability,” comments Müller-Ötvös. “Effortless, Everywhere is not just the promise behind Cullinan. It’s the fact.”
      Making luxury Effortless, Everywhere engendered an evolution in Rolls-Royce’s approach to creating an authentic Rolls-Royce SUV. The most obvious sign of this was the radical rear of Cullinan.
      For the first time a Rolls-Royce has an opening tailgate, called ‘The Clasp’. In a nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the motor-car, so the occupants did not travel with their belongings, the rear profile of Cullinan is a two-part, ‘D-Back’ format, with the bustle denoting the place of the luggage. ‘The Clasp’ opens and closes in its two sections automatically at the touch of the key fob button.
      The rear passenger compartment of Cullinan has been designed to offer the best seat in the house for the owner’s particular needs. Two rear configurations are offered – Lounge Seats or Individual Seats.
      The Lounge Seat configuration is the more functional of the two options. With space for three passengers in the rear, it will likely be more attractive to families. The rear seats also fold down – a first for Rolls-Royce.
      The seats fold electronically in a number of configurations by pressing the appropriate button in the boot or rear door pocket. One press sees each backrest effortlessly fold down, whist at the same time moving the headrests upwards to avoid making an imprint on the seat cushion. Both seat backs can be folded completely, creating a flat load area or in a 2/3 and 1/3 split, increasing practicality even further. Rear passengers can still travel with a long load, or use the carpeted seat back as an occasional table on which to rest their precious personal items.
      For those who intend to transport large items back from their adventures, the rear of Cullinan offers a large amount of space in different arrangements.
      The rear compartment or boot area offers a standard 560 litres of space, growing to 600 with the parcel shelf removed. Furthermore, the base of the rear seats sits higher than the boot floor, so even with both rear seats folded, the items in the boot cannot slip forward and are safely contained, unlike in any other SUV. But for those wishing to carry a long item back from their trip – whether it be a Mark Rothko from the Art Gallery or a newly discovered artefact from the latest archaeological dig – a loading length of 2245mm and load capacity of 1930 litres is accessed by electronically raising the boot floor to meet the seat base, allowing the item to slide through effortlessly.
      Rolls-Royce’s investment in making the rear of Cullinan effortlessly and ultimately practical has the side benefit of offering a loading length longer than a Range Rover Vogue Extended Wheelbase. A very practical Rolls-Royce indeed.
      Knowing that the Rolls-Royce customer expects to bespoke his or her Cullinan, a second rear configuration is offered.
      The Individual Seat configuration is for those who value the ultimate luxury an SUV can offer over practicality. The two individual rear seats are separated by a Fixed Rear Centre Console incorporating a drinks cabinet with Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and refrigerator. The seats also move in a number of planes to offer ultimate comfort whilst travelling in the rear.
      One final feature brings Rolls-Royce’s ultimate level of luxury to this configuration of Cullinan, creating the first truly “three-box” SUV. Inspired by the age when one never travelled with one’s luggage, a glass partition isolates the passenger cabin from the luggage compartment, creating an inner ecosystem for the occupants. In addition to enhanced and class-leading silence within the cabin, a further benefit becomes clear in the hottest and coldest of environments. Thanks to the sealed cabin created by the glass partition wall, the occupants can remain in the optimum temperature even when the luggage compartment stands open.
      Adventure awaits
      Cullinan awakes at the touch of the unlock button on the Bespoke key, or indeed by simply reaching out to its beautifully tactile stainless steel door handle. It lowers itself by 40mm to make entry effortless as the iconic Rolls-Royce coach doors stand open to welcome driver and passengers to their adventure.
      Having stepped directly into the cabin, thanks to the wide aperture of the doors and completely flat floor, driver and passengers press the door closing button to seal themselves within the sanctuary of Cullinan’s cabin. Or one touch of the sensor on the exterior door handles will see the doors automatically close themselves from outside.
      A touch of the start button then elevates Cullinan 40mm to its standard, commanding ride height, placing its occupants in the perfect position from which to see the world as it drives off.
      The driver instantly recognises Cullinan as a driver’s car thanks to its thicker, smaller steering wheel. It’s heated, pliant rim hints at epic voyages which Cullinan is all too eager to begin, whilst heated and ventilated seats mean passengers will be perfectly acclimatised. From their commanding position at the helm of Cullinan, all equipment and technology is clearly seen and reached by the driver.
      All information is clearly communicated by the latest generation of digital instruments, with the displays themselves designed with clear and beautiful virtual needles, Rolls-Royce jewellery-like chaplets and clear lettering.
      The central information screen is for the first time touch sensitive, allowing the driver to quickly select functions, map views and vehicle set-up whilst on the trail. This portal can still be controlled from the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy controller which nestles on the central console with the ‘Off-Road’ button, Hill Descent Control button and Air Suspension height adjustment controls.
      A host of other cutting-edge technology makes Rolls-Royce Cullinan the most technologically advanced car of its type in the world. Further equipment includes: Night Vision and Vision Assist including daytime and night-time Wildlife & Pedestrian warning; Alertness Assistant; a 4-Camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility and helicopter view; Active Cruise Control; Collision Warning; Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane Departure and Lane Change Warning; an industry leading 7x3 High-Resolution Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest Navigation and Entertainment Systems.
      For those not behind the wheel, the world’s most spectacular scenery is to be seen from a privileged position. Those in the rear sit higher than those in the front of the car on Rolls-Royce’s Pavilion Seating, enjoying grandstand views of their surroundings thanks to the large glazed area of Cullinan’s side windows and industry-leading panoramic glass roof. And if they wish to locate themselves or their latest far-flung discovery, they can zero in on their location on the rear touchscreen map.
      Also, no photographic opportunity will be missed as all electronic devices can be charged via the five USB ports around the cabin, whilst phones can be wirelessly charged in the front of the cabin.
      Arriving at their remote destination, the occupants can descend without dirtying their trouser legs as both front and rear coach doors wrap low under the sill of Cullinan, ensuring that all dirt remains on the outside of the door. A feature only Rolls-Royce would have considered.
      The ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ taken off-road
      The integration of new technologies into the architecture was also key to ensuring the fundamental quality of Cullinan as Effortless, Everywhere. The engineering team began by creating a drivetrain that would bring Rolls-Royce’s famous ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ off-road.
      “The drivetrain system we engineered for Cullinan had one key job to do,” explains Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for Cullinan. “To bring the famed Rolls-Royce ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ to all other terrains possible, while ensuring class-leading on-road behaviour in the SUV sector.”
      Rolls-Royce’s celebrated Magic Carpet Ride impresses off-road as well as on-road thanks to the new lighter architecture, and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension. Through a thorough re-engineering of the existing air suspension system – including adding larger air struts with more air volume to cushion the blows of the toughest of terrains – the strengthening of drive and prop shafts, the inclusion of drive to the front wheels as well as the back for the first time in Rolls-Royce history, and the complete reworking of the new 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine to deliver just the right level of torque (850Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600rpm), the Rolls-Royce engineering team has ensured Cullinan will take owners to places no modern Rolls-Royce owner has travelled in luxury before.
      The suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system – reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. A new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle deliver astounding levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and deliver incredible agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to incredible drivability and nimbleness.
      In the case of driving off-road, the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels.
      “Put simply, what makes the car great on-road makes the car great off-road,” concludes Krismer.
      The final piece of the puzzle of ensuring that the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Effortless, Everywhere is one single button. Known within Rolls-Royce as the ‘Everywhere’ button, one single push is all it takes to harness all the aforementioned peerless Rolls-Royce engineering and unleash all of Cullinan’s off-road capability.
      Once engaged, the driver can finesse the off-road setting to glide over any situation, whether it be rough track, gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or sand delivering all 850Nm of torque to all four wheels without interruption. And faced with deep snow, sand or the need to ford streams, Cullinan delivers the deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV at 540mm thanks to its highest ride height.
      One life, many lifestyles
      Driving to your remote location is simply the first part of the adventure in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Further enjoyment awaits in the shape of a Rolls-Royce Recreation Module.
      Imagine the scene. Having chosen your adventure you call down to your garage. “Jason, we’re going to go drone racing today. Can you load the Drone Module into the Cullinan?” Downstairs, Jason selects the Drone Racing Module from the rack containing several other Recreation Modules that the owner has had commissioned from Rolls-Royce to satisfy his or her preferred recreational pursuits.
      Fly fishing, photography, rock climbing, snowboarding, parascending, kite boarding, base jumping, volcano boarding or simply sitting and taking in the view, anything is possible thanks to the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Easily slotted and plugged into the boot of Cullinan, each Recreation Module contains a motorised drawer housing the equipment and paraphernalia specific to each Cullinan owner’s pursuits. When the owner is ready to play, it presents itself.
    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports 2018 April Sales
      Jeep®  brand reports record April sales, up 20 percent Jeep Wrangler reports highest month of sales ever, up 58 percent  Ram brand notches highest April retail sales ever, up 3 percent May 1, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported sales of 184,149 vehicles, a 5 percent increase compared with sales in April 2017 of 176,176 vehicles.
       
      Overall sales were pushed by the Jeep® brand which reported record sales for April. Retail sales came in at 143,995 vehicles, down only 1 percent despite April having two fewer selling days and one less weekend compared with April 2017. Fleet accounted for 22 percent of total sales.
       
      Jeep Brand
      The Jeep brand total sales rose in April to 82,641 vehicles, eclipsing the record of 82,537 vehicles in April 2016. The Jeep Wrangler once again led the portfolio as the nameplate posted a new monthly sales record of 29,776 vehicles. April was also the second consecutive month of record sales for the Wrangler. Jeep Compass sales more than tripled to 11,521 vehicles.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram Truck brand sales declined 9 percent to 43,074 vehicles compared with the previous year. However, the brand reported its best April of retail sales ever with 36,560 vehicles sold, outpacing the last record of 35,558 set in April 2017.    

      Chrysler Brand
      Chrysler brand total sales fell 18 percent in April to 14,189 vehicles compared with the same month a year ago. The Chrysler Pacifica minivan posted a 5 percent retail sales increase to 7,864 vehicles.  
       
      Dodge Brand
      Dodge brand total sales rose 4 percent to 40,994 with the Dodge Journey setting a new April record as sales climbed 39 percent to 11,638 vehicles.   
           
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of Fiat vehicles declined 45 percent to 1,404 vehicles. 
       
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 1,847 vehicles were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago. Giulia led the brand with 1,123 vehicle sales followed by Stelvio at 702 vehicles. 

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