Cash: Not Coming to an Alfa Hood Near You
The Alfa Romeo brand is an odd duck, and not just because of its “exotic” status or its on-again, off-again history in the United States. Italian car fans love it. Design enthusiasts drool over it. Performance enthusiasts and sports sedan traditionalists pine for a finely balanced, twin-turbocharged Giulia Quadrifoglio. Concerned friends warn them that other, perhaps safer options exist. Money lenders with soft hearts try to raise concerns about reliability.
Love it or fear it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has high hopes for the Alfa brand in the U.S. but, unlike FCA boss Sergio Marchionne, top American brass are hesitant to put a number to their hopes. For now, Alfa remains a brand without numerical expectations. And that’s the reason you won’t find incentives heaped on Alfa models in the near future.
According to Automotive News, Alfa and Maserati chief Reid Bigland, who’s also head of U.S. sales, claims FCA has no plans to play Let’s Make a Deal with Alfa customers. Bigland made the pronouncement as many wonder whether the automaker might try to stimulate sales which, despite being early in the brand’s return, seem sluggish.
Sales targets? We haven’t got any, Bigland claimed at this week’s Stelvio SUV drive event.
“Really no volume projections,” Bigland told assembled media. “We’re going to work the long-term game with Giulia as well as with Stelvio and we’ll see how it goes as to how many we’re going to sell.”
While Alfa’s top dog seems to be content to let sales play out organically, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is the other side of the coin. Marchionne has made numerous predictions regarding Alfa sales — predictions that, like the automaker’s model timelines, frequently bear little resemblance to reality.
After selling 73,000 vehicles last year, Marchionne expects Alfa to reach 170,000 sales in 2017. Industry analysts, however, have poured cold water all over those projections. Not only do they favor a lower number, they’re are only too happy to point out the vast divide between the CEO’s Giulia projections and actual buyer desire.
Buyers who do lust for a Giulia or Stelvio might be pleased to see the manufacturer offering cash back, but those who remain wary of the brand might see that as an indicator of poor quality. Markdowns do not scream “premium!”
“It’s a completely different game, with the two games really not to be confused,” Bigland said of the Alfa sales strategy compared to that of the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram lineup.
In order to reach more buyers, the roll-out of Alfa retail locations continues apace. The brand chief claims 215 Alfa dealers should be in operation by the end of the year, up from 184 today. Some of those dealers will share space with Maserati.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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