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Future models - Alfa Romeo - Stelvio

Stelvio to be Alfa Romeo’s best seller

High rider: The Stelvio is set to launch in Australia in early 2018, about a year after the arrival of the related Giulia sedan.

Despite expected $65k-plus pricing, Alfa’s Stelvio is set to be brand’s top seller

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Alfa Romeo logo17 Nov 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES

ALFA ROMEO expects the all-new Stelvio, the car-maker’s first SUV, to be its best-selling model range in Australia when it arrives in early-2018.

While pricing and positioning will be held back until much closer to the launch, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi said he was confident the newcomer will have what it takes to tackle the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

“I expect it to be our best-selling vehicle,” he told GoAuto at the Stelvio world premiere in Los Angeles this week. “It plays in the luxury D SUV segment, and that is the biggest and most popular class we will compete in.”

But with both the next-generation Audi Q5 due shortly and redesigned BMW X3 going on sale in Australia before the Stelvio, Mr Zanlunghi is keeping mum on a number of important details like pricing and specification surrounding the Italian-made SUV.

“We want to see where competitors Audi and BMW are at (with their next-generation Q5 and X3 respectively),” he said. “We would like to know where their prices are at before we announce ours.”

Additionally, Mr Zanlunghi refused to confirm whether rear-drive and turbo-diesel variants will join the Ferrari-developed flagship 2.9-litre V6 BiTurbo Quadrifoglio and 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol models announced.

“It is too early to say just now,” he said. “For product development and product line-up, we want to look to see where the volume potential is in the market, and that will determine the different variants we can bring in.

“All I can confirm is that the QV will be coming. Stay tuned for further updates.”

Alfa Romeo sales are down 55 per cent this year, with the ageing Giulietta having only just undergone a facelift and the 4C sportscar running at half the volume rate of last year.

The MiTo light car was also dropped from the line-up at the beginning of the year.

The Giulia mid-size sedan, which is expected to lead a sales turnaround for the brand, is now due in the first quarter of next year.

To the end of October, Alfa Romeo has shifted just 632 units, compared to 1418 over the same period last year.

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