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Alfa Romeo Giulia on target for FCA

Performance first: Performance is king in the new Giulia line-up, with the firecracker QV lighting up the sales charts.

Stronger sales of Alfa’s top-end Giulias offsetting slower sales of base versions

Alfa Romeo logo2 Jun 2017

By TIM ROBSON in AUCKLAND

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia says the brand rebuilding Alfa Romeo Giulia is meeting internal sales expectations, but not in the way the company thought it would.

In its first two full months on sale, Alfa Romeo sold 63 and 61 Giulias in March and April respectively, which is still less than rivals including the Jaguar XE (104 and 83 respectively), and about a quarter of the numbers achieved by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in both months.

FCA Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi told GoAuto that demand for the higher-spec models such as the Veloce and the QV were offsetting a lower-than-expected demand for its entry models, including the Giulia and the Super.

“We're hitting all of our targets, but we're doing it with a higher mix of vehicles,” he said. “It shows that the repositioning of Alfa really is resonating in that space that we’re looking to play in.” Mr Zanlunghi revealed that QV orders from the Cassino plant in Italy have been increased.

“We've increased our production supply that we’re going to get here in Australia,” he said, “and we should start seeing that in the back half of the year, probably starting in September, to fill the demand that we have.” The wait for a Giulia QV currently stretches out to three months, according to Mr Zanlunghi.

“Right now we've got a wait list out through September on the QV model specifically,” he said. “We saw the initial demand come in, and we’ve asked for the production to be upped, and it was granted to us from Italy.” A central part of the brand’s revival plans in Australia are based around a renewed dealer network, and Mr Zanlunghi admitted that a lack of representation in key areas in Queensland has hampered sales to this point.

“We still don’t have two of our key sales areas up and running yet,” he said. “One in Brisbane, and one (on the) Gold Coast, are the two key areas where we don’t have representation.

“We anticipate both of those being online by 1 July.” He declined to name the dealers, but stressed the fact that dealer appointments were an integral element to successfully growing the brand in Australia.

“Like I’ve said all along was, we’re going to be very specific on who we appoint as Alfa dealers,” he said. “They have to be an operator that is willing to invest in the brand, and is the right operator to really represent the brand properly.” Currently Alfa Romeo has three model lines on the books with the Giulia, 4C and Giulietta, while FCA Australia officials hinted that the Stelvio SUV launch may be held at the end of 2017, rather than the early part of 2018.

The Stelvio is built on top of FCA’s Giorgio platform, which is set to underpin a raft of new generation models from all brands in the FCA stable.

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