As Alfa Romeo Giulias Literally Lose Momentum, the Giulia's Market Momentum is Picking Up

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
as alfa romeo giulias literally lose momentum the giulias market momentum is picking

We can’t call it The Big Mo. Medium Mo might also be too strong a term.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Alfa Romeo division is beginning to pick up a measure of Giulia sales momentum in the United States. And with the launch of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Alfa’s first utility vehicle, occurring now, we should expect to see major improvements in the third and fourth-quarter of 2017.

But this [s]big[/s] [s]medium[/s] modest momentum comes as high-profile Alfa Romeo Giulias, the Giulias that land in the hands of the people who tell the world about the Giulia, fail with shocking regularity.

The latest failure? Last night, in the hands of a Jalopnik crew that lived to tell the tale.

Month after month after month, Alfa Romeo reports ever higher Giulia sales in the U.S. In fact, Giulia sales doubled between March and June. Sure, you expect to see sales ramp up during a launch phase, but doing so with an all-new car and a relatively unknown brand in a limited dealer network is no easy feat.

Is the Giulia a popular car? No. In June, the Giulia’s best month to date, the rapidly declining Volvo S60 outsold the Alfa. And the S60, you’ll recall, is not a popular car.

However, the climb to 992 sales last month — more than what the Jaguar XE has managed in each of the last three months — was fairly rapid. Month-over-month, Giulia sales rose 31 percent in April, 39 percent in May, and 12 percent in June, ending a second-quarter with 160-percent more sales than in 2017 Q1.

But that momentum is not going to be sustainable as word gets around that the cars Alfa Romeo is handing out to the press are failing at a rate that modern automotive journalists — and perhaps automotive journalists of any era — have never seen. I’ve tested around 250 different cars over the last half-decade and have yet to experience a failure beyond infotainment or power tailgate operation.

We’ve described Alfa’s situation in the past. Consumer Reports’ Giulia was spending so much time at the dealer that editors weren’t getting a chance to drive it. The Alfa Romeo Giulia that won a comparison test at Car And Driver couldn’t always keep its engine running. Motor Trend tested multiple failing Giulias; Jalopnik’s Quadrifoglio tester was a quality nightmare.

Then, in a PistonHeads video published last week, a Giulia Quadrifoglio died on track.

So we’re driving on I-87 and our Alfa Romeo Giulia just shat the bed

— Patrick George (@bypatrickgeorge) July 13, 2017

Last night, Jalopnik experienced exactly what we were all told we would experience with Alfa Romeo. With fewer than 2,000 miles under its belt, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia “started shuddering,” Michael Ballaban writes.

“The throttle was barely working,” Ballaban says. “I’d give it a light brush, and the car would go into conniption fits, its gearbox bogging and its motor unable to provide acceleration.”

Today, Road And Track’s Sam Smith described a track test in which a Giulia, “couldn’t hold together long enough to give me one full lap.”

To be fair, not all Alfa Romeo Giulia press cars break down. Our own Chris Tonn spent a week with an Alfa Romeo Giulia that remained in operation, although it did struggle to tell temperature.

But the fact that we’re surprised to learn of an Alfa Romeo Giulia that doesn’t feel at some point during a week-long test does not bode well for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, nor for Alfa Romeo’s U.S. fortunes in toto. So far, FCA has found itself capable of finding more and more U.S. buyers for the clearly exceptional driver’s car that is the Alfa Romeo Giulia. For that momentum to continue, a much higher percentage of Alfa Romeo Giulias will need to maintain momentum on the road, as well.

[Image: FCA]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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2 of 76 comments
  • Bazza Bazza on Jul 14, 2017

    I'm not sure this is surprising enough to warrant a post. Who in their right mind thought this flashy POS was going to spend any less than half its service life in a dealer service bay?

  • Forty2 Forty2 on Jul 15, 2017

    I don't exactly live in the sticks and travel all over N. America for work and I still have yet to see a Giulia in the wild. I hope it looks better than photos where it invokes a melty Chrysler 200 aside from the shnoz.

  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)
  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good
  • ToolGuy Your Jeep is too studly.
  • ToolGuy I had a point to make, but can't remember if it related to Part XXVIIII or Part XXIX.