Alfa Romeo Giulia Sales Jumped yet Again in July 2017
Critics love the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
And they hate it.
American luxury car buyers, however, are increasingly interested. The Alfa Romeo Giulia lineup has been available since the tail end of 2016. And every month, right through the spring and into the summer, stories of breakdowns and limp-home modes and on-track failures had no apparent impact on increased demand.
July 2017 was the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s best month on the U.S. market to date.
Expectations for growth are the norm when it comes to newly released vehicles. Alfa Romeo’s situation is unique, however, in that the Giulia is not a replacement product for an established nameplate and Alfa Romeo is a relatively unknown entity in North America. The dealer network is small, and there’s no potential to bring in loyal owners with trade-ins of any vehicle, other than owners of 23-year-old 164s.
Expectations are thus diminished when early cars are seen failing with alarming frequency. Consumer Reports’ bought-and-paid-for Giulia has been visiting the dealer all too often. Car And Driver’s comparison-test-winning Giulia Quadrifoglio didn’t stay running. Jalopnik’s Giulia Quadrifoglio shouldn’t have passed quality control; their lesser Giulia struggled to stay alive. PistonHeads‘ Giulia didn’t make it through a track test. Road & Track’s Giulia “kept breaking.”
Then The Globe And Mail’s Matt Bubbers was set to leave for a pickup of an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio on July 17 when the Giulia he was supposed to pick up went into limp-home mode; throwing codes.
Won’t be picking up Giulia tester today. Car went into limp-home mode, throttle body codes. Sound familiar @bypatrickgeorge? @DerekKreindler
— Matt Bubbers (@mattbubbers) July 17, 2017
Bozi Tatarevic thoroughly chronicled the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s poor reliability situation, revealing some instances in which the assumed causes are hilariously innocent.
No matter. Giulia sales are steadily rising.
The Giulia hasn’t yet been available for a full 12-month period, so the year-over-year comparisons upon which we would typically rely to avoid seasonal fluctuations aren’t available. Yet compared with March, April volume was up 31 percent. May sales grew a further 39 percent before June was 12-percent better than May, and July — the most recent month — represented an 11-percent improvement over June.
Quickly, the Alfa Romeo Giulia has become a car people actually buy, not just a rare afterthought ignored by almost every luxury car buyer. In July, the 1,104 Giulias sold in the United States meant that the Alfa outsold upmarket/premium/luxury cars such as the Buick LaCrosse, Lincoln Continental, Volvo S90, BMW 7 Series, Cadillac CTS, and Lexus GS.
More importantly, the Alfa Romeo Giulia easily outsold a number of direct rivals: Volvo S60, Cadillac ATS, and Jaguar XE.
Popular? No. The BMW 3 Series, with a variety of bodystyles and a broad engine lineup, tumbled 40 percent in July and still outsold the Giulia by nearly four-to-one. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class generated 4,899 sales. The Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, and Audi A4 all sold more than twice as often as the Giulia.
But despite all of the negative attention and the inherent uphill climb facing a new car from a new brand in a highly competitive sector, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is trending in the right direction.
Alfa Romeo is now launching the Stelvio, the brand’s first utility vehicle, 99 of which were sold in the U.S. in July. As the Giulia’s segment continues its struggle, look for the Stelvio to be the real gauge of Alfa Romeo’s U.S. strength. If the brand is going to find North American success, that’s the model that’ll do it.
[Images: FCA, The Truth About Cars]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.
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