We're Listening to Customers, Alfa Romeo Director Claims
In the struggling Alfa Romeo brand’s near future, the subset of voices calling for sexy new sports cars will have to take a backseat to owners and would-be buyers who just want minor improvements to existing vehicles.
Exciting? Not very, but Alfa isn’t concerned with wowing the blogger crowd at this point in time. The axe taken to its future product lineup shows this pretty clearly. In response to the about-face, Alfa’s North American director claims the sky is no longer the limit, though you can expect some sexy new lower body cladding.
That cladding can be found covering the lower regions of the brand’s Stelvio crossover, and come 2020, it’ll be body-colored, rather than looking like something found in a GM or Subaru showroom.
“The vehicle should be quieter? We’ve added laminated glass throughout the vehicle,” said Bob Broderdorf, referring to changes arriving for the Giulia sedan. Broderdorf’s comments, reported by Automotive News, were made during the recent Los Angeles Auto Show.
“On the Stelvio, before, we used to have plastic cladding down below. Why? It’s a premium vehicle; it shouldn’t be there! Let’s change it to body color and drive home the premium feel of the vehicle.”
(See gratuitous butt shots above and below.)
Small changes, but Broderdorf claims it’s proof that the brand takes criticism seriously. With the brand’s Fiat Chrysler parent now pursuing a merger with France’s Groupe PSA, Broderdorf shot down speculation that Alfa might find itself on the chopping block. That said, he admitted — albeit obliquely — that the brand’s difficult rebirth in North America requires less ambitious planning.
Alfa sales shrunk 27 percent through the end of October; with the 4C now discontinued, the marque offers buyers just two vehicles, and the short-term product plan now shows no reborn 8C or GTV model. In their place, a compact SUV (Tonale) will arrive in 2021, with an electrified small utility vehicle arriving a year later.
“I fundamentally believe in the brand, but we must make sure that any investments that we make generate an appropriate return,” the brand’s director said, echoing comments made by FCA CEO Mike Manley.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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I would guess they are good driver cars but not a good value when new. So best is to buy slightly used for half the MSRP. If you are confident of course that they are at least GM level reliable.
They're listening to customers and the main point of concern isn't basic reliability?! Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.