By on October 18, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Cassino Italy assembly plant - Image: FCAAlfa Romeo is on track to sell between 130,000 and 140,000 vehicles around the globe in calendar year 2017, a far cry from the 170,000-unit performance Sergio Marchionne expected Alfa to put together.

U.S. sales remain predictably low by the standards of rival brands but are rising quickly now that the Stelvio SUV is in action. But on the other side of the Pacific, new rules that limit automobile manufacturers from forcing dealers to accept stock, Automotive News Europe reports, has sorely limited sales in China. Thus, rather than the 2,666 Alfa Romeo Stelvios shipped to China in July, only 227 landed in China in August.

The result? Alfa Romeo is cutting back production of the Stelvio and Giulia in Cassino, Italy.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport - Image: FCAAlfa Romeo was already decreasing Stelvio and Giulia production in September 2017 with production stops on Fridays. Now the vehicles-built-per-shift has been cut 12 percent to 265. This essentially ends, or at the very least suspends, Alfa Romeo’s goals of selling 170,000 vehicles annually. That 170,000-unit sales goal, of course, was actually the far more realistic goal after Marchionne said in 2014 that Alfa Romeo would sell 400,000 vehicles annually by 2018.

Key to that forecast, at least in the mind of Alfa Romeo executives, was the U.S. incursion. Sure, Alfa Romeo sold only 74,000 vehicles in 2013, but that was without any effort in the U.S. market and without the RWD-based lineup that would surely spur demand.

Sales in the United States have by no means been profoundly low, but the ramp-up of what is essentially a new-to-America brand (for most buyers) takes a long time. Naturally, the Alfa Romeo Giulia doesn’t sell remotely as well as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, or Audi A4. But Alfa Romeo is now averaging more than 900 U.S. sales per month, easily outselling the Jaguar XE over the last six months and nearly matching the pace of indirect domestic competition such as the Lincoln Continental and Cadillac CTS.

Yet with only 1,268 total sales in September, Alfa Romeo’s best month since arriving back in America, FCA’s middle Italian child hardly appears primed to produce the level of demand needed for the Cassino assembly plant to ignite a higher rate of production. China may be to blame for Alfa Romeo’s recent production downturn, but America’s luxury car buyers are hardly lending a helping hand.

[Images: Alfa Romeo]

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

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20 Comments on “Alfa Romeo Isn’t Going to Meet Its 2017 Sales Targets – Blame China...”

  • avatar

    Isn’t it interesting how whenever Alfa has a failing and has to cut back on their expectations, it’s never their fault? Someone didn’t buy like they were supposed to. Regulation is an issue. There isn’t this or that happening globally. On and on we go, with Alfa pretending they’re a viable mass market brand.

    They are not.

    • 0 avatar

      Hillary Clinton of the automotive world.

      What Happened? Your cars are junk.

    • 0 avatar

      From the book by Sam Moses 1986 “Fast Guys, Rich Guys and Idiots”

      Had a long talk on the phone with Doc [Bundy] today. I told him about the shift that I’d missed on Shoreline Drive on my last lap in the Pro-Celebrity race. If I hadn’t missed that shift, [Ted] Nugent wouldn’t have been close enough to strike – or else his dive would have fallen short and ended in the wall.

      “That’s exactly what you want to attain from every race,” Doc snapped back,” – a concrete reason for everything that happens and doesn’t happen. Since you got that much out of the race, it was a good one for you. You got run into because you made a mistake, and you learned something. The crash was your fault. It’s always your fault. I don’t care if you’re cruising down the back-straight all by yourself and the car gets struck by a lightning bolt out of the sky, it’s your fault for being where the lightning wanted to land. That’s the way you have to look at it, or you’ll never learn, and the same thing will happen to you again and again and again. Each time you’ll cry, ‘But it wasn’t my fault!’ but you’ll still be out of the race, and you’ll be walking around ripe for it to happen again.”

      Words to live by.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve developed an infatuation with the Stelvio which may convert into a purchase if I test drive one.

    In Alfa-talk, I wouldn’t call 130-140k a ‘far cry’ from 170k. It would be for most mfrs, however.

  • avatar

    A mid-level engine would be nice. It is a fairly jarring jump from the 280hp turbo-4 to 505hp of big money Ferrari-derived insanity.

    The 3.0L V6 from Maserati would be a nice fit, but putting that engine in a $50k Alfa would kind of sh*t on the Trident’s branding position.

  • avatar

    I really love the look and wanted this to work out but didn’t this thing break down or strand a ton of the auto “journalists” that had a first crack at it?

    Maybe, just maybe, that bad press coupled with a well earned history for breaking down was a factor?

  • avatar

    A thousand odd US sales per month spread across 2.5 models? Heck, BMW or MB probably lose that many units falling off the boat during the Atlantic crossing, and it won’t get better for Alfa until they can offer competitive (unsubsidized) lease rates and have some positive reviews that don’t include tow truck reports. On the bright side, perhaps the slower demand can give those Italian autoworkers a little more time to screw them together correctly.

  • avatar

    Sales are bad because people care about reputation. Alfa’s is poor.

  • avatar

    I think they might have missed their targets because Sergio, King of the Liars and Charlatans, quoted some insane figure that everybody but him knew they would never get even close to.

  • avatar

    The Giulia from that angle, in that colour is gorgeous. It’s almost enough to make me sign a lease for one!

  • avatar

    I’d help them with one sale, if it came with a 6 speed manual gearbox.

  • avatar

    Have any of you guys ever owned an Alfa? You all seem to be such experts on the brand. Some of the comments are Really Stupid, you know who you are. I have an Alfa GT which I bought in ’04 and I love the car. I put up a high mileage using it for my job for eight years and despite some local comments similar to their US cousins on this site, the car never let me down. Yes, I’ve had many different car brands as company cars over the years but the Alfa is special to drive. My son had a 156 which he liked as well. Please, comment on cars from your own experiences and not schoolyard drivel.

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