By on January 5, 2018

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCA

Alfa Romeo “outperformed all others in U.S. sales last year,” posting astronomical year-over-year gains. At least, that’s how Bloomberg frames it in a recent news article. By that logic, infants everywhere outperformed long-distance runners by taking their first steps last year.

As Fiat Chrysler’s sexiest brand, Alfa has only recently made its return to the North American market. Therefore, referencing a large improvement in overall sales isn’t quite so impressive, considering the borderline mainstream Giulia has only just been added to the product lineup. Prior to 2017, the brand’s singular offering in the United States was the mid-engined 4C sports car.

In 2016, Alfa Romeo only shipped 516 cars inside the United States — which was actually a modest decrease from 2015. However, adding the sedan to the lineup yielded 12,031 deliveries in 2017. While that’s all well and good for the company, the vast majority of those can be attributed to the Giulia, and that model was trounced by the Audi A4, BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and most other vehicles in the entry-level Euro luxury segment. Even outliers like the Jaguar XE managed to beat the Giulia by a few hundred cars.

That’s not to say the Alfa isn’t deserving of a place in the market. Despite some questionable reliability issues, the Giulia has been exceptionally well received by automotive enthusiasts. FCA definitely delivered on the brand’s historic charms (and faults). But it’s still too early to call Alfa Romeo an American success story.

This year will give us a much better sense of where the brand is heading, and whether or not FCA is ready to move more volume. The Stelvio crossover arrives in larger numbers in 2018 (FCA moved 997 of them in December) and Alfa has admitted it needs to work on figuring out what the market wants from it.

Carlock Motor Cars in Nashville told Bloomberg it had trouble keeping desirable Giulias in stock. Buyers are looking for a particular version — the souped-up TI Sport package, typically in a bright color. “It was a little counterintuitive for us,” sales manager Mitchell Sherwood explained. “They’re definitely not buying it in silver with black interior and trying to blend in.”

Picky customers haven’t crippled sales, but Alfa Romeo will still need to tweak its supply to ensure the most tempting offerings populate dealer showrooms. Even still, it’s a long climb to the top and the brand is still on the bottom rung of the ladder. “We want to make sure we earn our position in the segment,” said Pieter Hogeveen, Alfa’s director in North America. “It’s not just chasing sales numbers for us.”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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29 Comments on “Exploring Alfa Romeo’s Big ‘Sales Surge’ in 2017...”


  • avatar
    a5ehren

    “They’re definitely not buying it in silver with black interior and trying to blend in.”

    I mean…yeah? It’s a freakin’ Italian car that breaks down all the time. The people who are in the market for that don’t want a silver 3 series, or they’d have already bought one.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “the souped-up TI Sport package, typically in a bright color.”

    Amen.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    I’ve owned several Alfas and plan on owning 1 or 2 more.
    ‘never had one that I couldn’t heal and toe and never plan on owning one with video game shifters.
    Canada is lucky with only having to wait 15 years. 156s and soon 159s here.

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      Maybe some day a 156 GTA wagon will drift down here to Kentucky for me. In red, but silver is fine. Or a 159 and a 147. I don’t care; they’re all gorgeous.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    No doubt there’s a niche for Alfas to sell into, both worldwide and NA.

    The real question is do the financials work relative to what this volume is?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    My Giulia Ti Sport Q4 arrives next week ;)

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      Awesome! I hope you really enjoy it!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      You’ve now committed to submitting a reader review.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Congratulations, would like to know about your experiences with reliability as that is the one major thing stopping me pulling the trigger on one.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      How long ago did you order it? I’m trying to time a Giulia to replace by GTI when the lease runs out in May, and don’t want to be stuck with a silver car with a black interior from the lot.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I took it from port stock, but it was ordered in October, built in November, arrived on the Atlantic shore a month later, then approx 3 weeks to ship across the country. There’s something to be said about ordering exactly what you want, but the dealer should be able to find you want you want.

        Mine is a Ti Sport in Rosso tricoat with red/black interior and the 19 inch performance package. So it’s the right colors with the Quadrifoglio wheels <3

  • avatar
    Fred

    “Exploring Alfa Romeo’s Big ‘Sales Surge’ in 2017” At work someone would complain that our pumps didn’t have a “steep curve” so I changed the scale to make it look like it was steep. Same numbers just looked steeper. Customer was happy. Same goes with Alfa sales numbers.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    As much as I despise the 4-door sedan, this is one sexxy car. Far and away more curb appeal than any 3-series or whatever the comparable Mercedes is. Nothing comparable from any Asian marque is even visible to me. Rumor has it this could spawn a coupe, as well as underpin midsizers at Dodge/Chrysler. I want this to succeed.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “They’re definitely not buying it in silver with black interior and trying to blend in.”

    God bless you Alfa buyers. Please start demanding manuals next.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Alfa’s sales are still very weak. Does FCA have the time and money to complete Alfa’s turnaround?

    As someone who’s a bit sick of the Germans dominance of this sector I personally think Alfa might well be better off own by JLR or Volvo. Both Jaguar and Volvo need to increase sales in the Sedan market. Sharing components with Jaguar or Volvo would help Alfa and the other brand no end.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Fiat,to include Alfa Romeo, was given Chrysler/Ram/Jeep. The extended Agenlli family more or less own Fiat. Gianni Agnelli ran Fiat like a fiefdom. Gianni Agnelli’s son died and there’s another son (nephew?) who has some well-publicized habits (drugs/transvestite hookers) that make him unfit to be made the CEO of a multi-national company. Sergio was hired to run Fiat until John Elkann; Gianni’s grandson, can take over. The Agnellis will get rid of Chrysler/Ram/Jeep like someone getting rid of a Joseph A Banks suit at goodwill. The quality is about the same. The real question is: Will the Agnelli’s keep/merge/sell Fiat/Alfa? Jeep’s the wildcard in the whole FCA mess.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I read the Bloomberg advertorial earlier today. Is there nothing people won’t do for money these days?

    On the other hand if someone knows beforehand the possible hassles they may well experience but wants the Alfa anyway, best of luck to them and enjoy.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    It still looks like a Chrysler 200 with a triangular snout bolted on.

  • avatar
    MGV001

    Finally talked myself into a test drive of a paddles Giulia. Engine was a bit rough on start-up from cold. Sounds like a diesel while driving. Nice downshift throttle blips from the computer. Fit, finish, quality not on par with Germans. Will not buy. Must have 3 pedals and higher redline to mitigate shortcomings.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My friend has TWO Quad Spiders because he likes to drive one of them once in a while.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    So…Alfa got outsold by the Chevy Bolt last year and I guess we’re supposed to be impressed. There’s no way this kind of tiny scale is helping FCA.

  • avatar
    NN

    Wish they’d do a stick on the Giulia. IMO sales would go up 10-20%, because Alfa buyers are not Camry buyers, hence the bright color stuff. I’d be buying one if they did, but I can’t get excited about an automatic car if I’m buying a car for fun–which this would be.

    To my chagrin, even in Europe you can’t get a manual in a petrol 4cyl. Seems diesel options only, and then the Quadrifoglio. So even if they did want to bring a manual over, what are the chances they’d engineer something that they don’t already have?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I saw a royal blue(?) Giulia in Syracuse the other day (sans NYS front plate), very sharp car. The driver was having more than a little trouble in the snow/slush mixture, not the greatest choice for a CNY Winter.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Not surprising that Giulia buyers are looking for the higher performance models in brighter colors as it is the type of vehicle/brand that appeals to enthusiasts.

    As for the rest of the luxury sedan buyers, the vast majority don’t care about the Giulia’s handling prowess and/or scared off by Alfa’s quality woes.

  • avatar

    Every Cadillac model outsells the Giulia. It is probably one of the slowest selling luxury cars in North America.


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