News - Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo now separate FCA Australia entity
Break away: Splitting Alfa from its more mainstream brands will allow FCA Australia to better position the brand for the future.
FCA Australia breaks Alfa Romeo away internally to better take on German brands
2 March 2017
FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia has formally divided Alfa Romeo from
its other brands within its local operations, resulting in separate marketing,
distribution, and aftersales care from Fiat and the Fiat Professional
commercial vehicle division, as well as Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.
With five more all-new models due by the end of this decade, the aim is to
better align Alfa Romeo both internally and externally with buyer expectations
and demands against luxury competitors such as Audi, BMW, Lexus and
To be formally announced in the coming weeks, the move will lead to specialised
personnel and other staff changes within FCA Australia management in Melbourne
beginning this month, to help move the brand forward after nearly 20 years of
stagnation in this market.
“We’ve realised that what works for Alfa may not work for Fiat, may not work
for Jeep, may not work for Chrysler,” according to FCA Australia senior
communications manager, Glenn Butler. “We need a total brand focus and this
will be it.
“We’ve turned how we look at our brand focus on its head. Instead of having
marketing experts working across the whole business, across the whole brands,
we now have a team working solely on Alfa Romeo.”
It is believed that FCA Australia is investigating a number of aftersales and
customer service initiatives exclusive to Alfa Romeo, beyond the separate
dealership sites announced in the middle of last year, that should further help
set it apart from some if its competitor’s efforts.
These could include owner concierge services, more personalised vehicle
servicing regimes and better peace of mind initiatives.
However, Mr Butler declined to comment on whether the latter might include a
Jeep-style five-year warranty and capped-price servicing, though nothing is out
of the question.
“We want owners to be proud again,” he said. “We want to give them reason to
keep coming back to the brand that is clearly loved and cherished.
“And that’s one of the key aspects about this particular marque. Many people
want to see Alfa Romeo succeed. I don’t think anybody who loves cars wants to
see it fail. A strong and competitive Alfa Romeo would be good for the
Mr Butler explained that creating the division between the premium and more
mainstream brands reflects the design and engineering ethos applied to the new
Giulia during 2013-14, when FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne identified the need for a
separate breakaway mentality in order to create a vehicle capable of beating
rivals such as the BMW 3 Series.
“It’s an extension of the development of the Giulia’s skunkworks development
gestation,” he said, “where there is a purity of thought and direct line of
result to help achieve our ambitions”.
Mr Butler added that while he does not envisage the Giulia outselling the key
German competitors, the result means that the groundwork is being implemented
for the brand to become an ongoing and sustainable success.
“We don’t expect it to be number one, but that’s not our goal,” he claimed.
“Our goal is to deliver the cars and the premium experience our owners expect
from Alfa Romeo.
With previous unsuccessful attempts to take on the German luxury triumvirate in
Australia in 1998 with the Fiat Tipo-based GTV/Spider and 156, and again in
2006 with the 159/Brera/Spider (which were devised to share platforms with
General Motors brands at the time), Mr Butler conceded that Alfa Romeo has not
always delivered on its brand promise or heritage in this segment.
But he added that he believed the Giulia was more than capable of standing
proud in a class dominated by the Germans.
“We want to offer something different to premium sports sedan buyers, but
without the compromises some of our previous products demanded in the past,” he
said. “We are confident this is the most complete Alfa Romeo ever, and it
delivers in all areas.”
As reported last year, the Giulia is just the first of six vehicles due by the
end of 2020.
It will be joined by the BMW X5-sized Stelvio SUV unveiled at the LA Auto Show
last November and due early next year in Australia, and then a smaller and
larger SUV respectively later on, as well as a proposed sports coupe, a
possible convertible replacement for the iconic Spider, and a successor for the
Whether all will utilise the Giulia’s (and Stelvio’s) rear-drive focused
Giorgio platform has yet to be formally decided, we hear, although reports out
of Europe suggest that the latter would best fit in with Alfa’s (and Mr
Marchionne’s) ambitions for the 107-year-old marque.