Once again Alfa Romeo faces tough times. Last year the brand barely sold 100.000 units in the whole world, down 29% circa. That’s a very bad result for a brand like Alfa. One year before the brand took a breath with the successful Giulietta, which reached its top in all markets. But the good moment didn’t last for long and soon both models, the MiTo and Giulietta, began to fall in sales rankings. It has been happening in the last years: a great start that doesn’t last for to long. In fact, I think the brand should pay attention to this weird situation and take some measures to try to increase the maturity period of all of its models. The Giulietta is a young product that doesn’t deserve the slump on sales it had last year (a tiny update is expected to arrive late this year).
The brand is far from the late 80’s/early 90’s when it sold 144.000 units only in Italy (6% market share). Last year it had to deal with only 2 models, as the 159’s production ended. These are certainly not good times for Alfa Romeo: it faces European car industry crisis with two hatchbacks in the most competitive segments. Hence deliveries dropped practically in all markets where it operates. In Italy, which counts for 42% of the brand’s sales, its registrations fell a massive 28%. It was worse in the rest of Europe except for Austria, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Poland. Sales didn’t change in Lithuania and Bulgaria, and increased in Turkey, Estonia, Latvia and Russia. All these countries (Europe + Turkey and Russia) counted for 91% of total sales. That’s too bad as we all know that Europe is not facing its best economic period.
The remaining part of the sales come mostly from Japan, which became the 5th largest market for the brand, ahead of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Actually, it was the market with the highest positive change in volume due to the introduction of the Giulietta which was very well received by Japanese consumers. Other non-European markets include South Africa, Australia and Israel. The brand is very rare to see in Latinamerican roads because of high prices and low awareness.
This year the brand’s registrations are expected to fall again to shocking levels. Alfa Romeo may sell around 70.000 units, which is extremely bad. This result is based on a poor current range, and the bad European situation. However things may get better in the second semester as it is expected tiny updates for the MiTo (in the summer) and the Giulietta (late this year). The 4C won’t have a big impact as it is a low volume model and it won’t be available until September. At this point, even if I am optimistic about the brand’s goal of selling 300.000 units by 2016, it seems hard for Alfa Romeo to increase its registrations without any other volume model. In 2014 they may introduce the Spider in collaboration with Mazda, but once again it is not a massive product. The models to make the difference won’t come until 2015: the Giulia and C-SUV. In other words, Alfa Romeo needs to work quickly and anticipate those launches.
Source: Autoblog Argentina, Automotive Austria, Best Selling Cars Blog, Focus2move, Carsitaly, Colitalia Autos, Autonet Croatia, Edom, Data House Hungary
Many thanks to: Robert Breton, Paula Silva, Robert Gabor, Manuela Todeschini
Click here to see Alfa Romeo MiTo 2012 Full Year Analysis
Click here to see Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2012 Full Year Analysis
What is going on is a shame!!! How can we let a brand like Alfa with only 2 models. MiTo is not a really new product. Stopping the 159 was a crazy decision. Alfa will stay without any proposal on that segment during at least 4 years. Who can do that nowadays in the industry. Actually Alfa sales in France (my country is decreasing to nothing). M. Marchionne could you please stop speaking about the nice brand which is Alfa or stop presenting product plans. Please act now. According to the last news, Alfa will not launch any new models in 2014 (except maybe the 4C Spider). It seems that the first new models which will appear could ne the Duetto in 2015 according the the press. And what about the Guilia, the SUV, the new E segment??????? According to Marchionne, once the Guilia is late because they have to decide about the plateform. After he needs new engines with the Alfa DNA and now the car needs to be perfect! The best way for a perfect car is not car. So please start working and stop speaking. Just remeber that you said that the new Guilia will appear in 2012. It’s really look like Alfa managment want to kill the brand. I know it as an option presented by M. Marchionne just before the launch of the Giuiletta but after all he accepted that Alfa is a diamant for the group. But was it really what he had in mind.
Fiat is lookig for cash to buy Chrysler. Alfa is looking at new birth. So please sell it to VW (it is not what I want but I prefer an Alfa with the germans than no Alfa!). You will get money and Alfa a new life as you are able to do anything excepting delaying products.
I’m a very old Alfa Customer (at least 10 Alfas during the last 22 years) and for the first time I will need to buy another brand as I cannot buy a new 159. Not I do not want, just because Alfa does not want to sell it. We have a crisis in Europe w=but there is still customers buying products. So I will buy a BMW, Mercedes or a Volvo or DS. Alfa has too much customers actually and can loose some without problems. A shame like I said. And M. Marchionne said USA is a very important market for Alfa. US sales are doing well so it is the right time to relaunch Alfa there. But maybe you are waiting a decrease in US to have a new excuse for a new delay.
Sorry for this long post but the numbers I have seen before just drive me crazy and I’m very sad. Hope some Alfa manager in Italy can read this note and give us some good news which will be a little bit of sun for the Alfa customers. And I also do not want to think about the Alfa dealers. Are they going to be still alive if tomorrow Alfa finally decide to launch new models.
I understand your point as an Alfa Romeo fan and as a regular person who drives a car. I agree that it makes no sense to keep delaying plans and taking the brand to historical minimums in terms of image, sales and prestige. I think, as you say, that the new products should arrive soon, but please consider this:
1. Alfa Rome makes part of a group that is dealing not only with one of the worst European car industry crisis, but has to deal with internal problems related to labor unions and local labor legislation.
2. The priority of the group is to close the deal with Chrysler so the cash Chrysler produces can come to Italy and repair the problems.
3. Italians have their way of working. They take time for everything but at the end they make good things with good results. Fortunatelly there is now American culture in the company, so decision making shouldn’t be that slowly.
4. European car industry crisis hasn’t bottom yet, so introducing a new D-Segment, E-Segment or even a SUV at this moment, from a brand that hasn’t the best image among buyers, would be a suicide, as no one would buy them right now.
I also feel frustated about this great brand, but I’m very optimistic about its future. Marchionne is a great guy that knows where to go, and Alfa is in the core of his strategy. We must be patient.
Look, if you want Alfa Romeo to die and become an Audi clone, fine, but at least have the decency not to pretend to be an “Alfa Fan”, as your wish for a German “solution” clearly indicates that you are in no way a fan! If Audi Romeo is better than a future Alfa Romeo to you, just go to the nearest Audi dealer and pick up the car of your dreams, and buy a scudetto on eBay to replace those four rings if they somehow bother you.
I think it’s sad that you have such a condescending attitude towards people who clearly love Alfa Romeo yet have different opinions than you have. I guess you are always right, everyone else is always wrong!
@thysi: My “condescending attitude” reflects the fact that I’m mightily fed up with dealing with the subject time and time again, combined with a long-term enthusiasm for Italian cars in general and Alfa Romeo in particular.
Italian cars have that certain “je ne sais quoi” that German cars don’t and that the Germans simply don’t seem to be able to replicate, no matter how much they want to. In my view Italians make better and more interesting cars than the Germans, who have a tendency to make immensely competent cars that on paper may even be “better” than their Italian counterparts, but that appeal more to the mind than to the heart. What the Italians don’t seem to do well (at least judging by recent history) is marketing, something that the German car manufacturers by contrast are extraordinarily good at, not only to the point that to most people “premium cars” means “German cars”, but also to the point that when Volkswagen suggests that it can do a better job with Alfa Romeo than Fiat, then even people who (think they) are Alfa enthusiasts buy it hook, line and sinker, even though a few extra iterations of “VW-Audi parts-bin special” vehicles are hardly what the automotive landscape needs, nor would it be a worthy fate of such a legendary brand as Alfa Romeo!
Hence my suggestion that if that’s what people want, then they may just as well visit a dealer today and buy an Audi (or for that matter, a VW, Seat or Skoda), because that’s essentially what VW would likely have to offer anyway, right down to the Walter da Silva design. Those of us who want an Alfa Romeo instead of an Audi Romeo, however, are not as lucky, and have to wait (probably several years) for Alfa’s new model range to appear. Imagine the frustration, then, if the German “saviour” were to take over the legendary brand and derail Fiat’s plans with the blessing of ostensible Alfisti… can you honestly blame me for being “condescending”?
I agree with you. Germans make great products with wheels. Italians just make cars
Regarding the “je ne sais quois” of Italian products (not just cars), there is no doubt it exists. But look at the top Italian brands, and many of them are no longer Italian-owned: Gucci, Martini, Bulgari, Lamborghini, San Pellegrino, Zanussi, Valentino. Have these all lost their Italian characteristics? Do you refuse to buy them, too?
As for your Walter de Silva jab, I thought you would have some respect for an *Italian* designer and a past longtime Alfa Romeo design chief. Not to mention that Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign, responsible for Alfasud, Alfetta, 159 and Brera, is part of the VW Group as well.
Right now, after 27 years of Fiat management, and 9 years of Marchionne leadership, Alfisti are only able to buy “Fiat-parts-bin-special” (to borrow your terminology) A and B-segment hatchbacks, with little regard for Alfa’s sporting and racing heritage. Can you really blame them for being frustrated?
@thysi: I have little experience with those brands you mention except for San Pellegrino and (at a stretch) Zanussi (my washing machine is an AEG, but it’s made in the Zanussi factory in Porcia, Italy and is essentially a Zanussi inside, only with a Teutonic-looking fascia that allows Electrolux to charge a premium), but in principle I don’t have any problems buying from them (with a few exceptions, perhaps, depending on who the owners are, where they’re based and what I know about them). But I don’t think the fate of any of these brands (not even Lamborghini) is comparable with the potential fate of Alfa Romeo under VW ownership. To Volkswagen, Alfa Romeo is just a brand, and a takeover would necessarily involve a profound technical transformation of the model lineup, to the point where eventually everything would be based on German technology (architecture and engines), albeit with some Italian styling to dress it up, and with the Germans calling the shots. In other words, it would be Audi – but the thing is, we already have Audi.
I don’t see how you could interpret my mention of de Silva as a “jab” or as disrespectful – I merely brought him up because he’s responsible for the design of contemporary Audis, meaning that both in technology and style they are made up of the same ingredients that would likely be used for Audi Romeos.
As for the frustration of Alfa Romeo’s current limited model lineup (reduced to B and C segment hatchbacks, not A and B as you write), I not only understand it very well, I share it myself. But I recognize that the German “cure” is worse than the Italian “disease”. Having grown up with pre-Fiat Alfa Romeos I’ll be the first to concede that Alfa Romeo lost something when it was taken over by Fiat, but I think what still remains is worthy of preservation, which won’t happen with a German “solution”, but which might happen under Italian ownership. And should Fiat fail, well, it’s not too late to buy that Audi…
Please check at this post:
You are right and I agree in most of the points. But I’m so frustated and I cannot believe that Alfa cannot propose a D segment during about 4 years. I would like to be optimistic as you are. I’m sure that with a great model range, Alfa can score well. But I will trust Marchionne on Alfa future only when I will see a real new Alfa which can be sold at high numbers. Honestly, I’m still not convinced that Marchionne will not sell the brand. But we should be fixed by next autumn. If VW is really interested, sure they will try to close the deal for next autoshow in Frankfurt. The visit of VW people in Pomigliano, …. is for me still a sign that Alfa future is not clearly decided. Which could also explain the delays for the new models. Marchionne is a great Financial guy but not a product and car lover. So let see and hope you will be right
Please check at my post about the possible sale of Alfa Romeo to Audi. For me, it makes no sense to sell it because of 2 things: Fiat needs a medium-premium brand like Alfa Romeo, and VW wouldn’t know how to position a brand like AR when it already has Audi, Porsche and VW itself. If Marchionne could do it with Chrysler, I’m sure he will make it with AR (I am not that sure about Lancia)
You are right. But when Piech wants something, he used to get it. See with Ducati what happened. I will prefer of course AR in Fiat group but with a real future and not like now
At this point I find it hard to believe that Fiat wants to sell Alfa Romeo, and that it will only do so if it’s forced to, e.g. because of financial problems. Because as you point out, Fiat needs Alfa Romeo, and selling it makes no sense.
Sadly, Fiat needs Alfa Romeo much more than Alfa Romeo needs Fiat …
I think that maybe the introduction of new alfa romeo’s models could be influenced from the reaction of the markets about the new quattroporte and ghibli.
I don’t think so. Maserati plays in another world.
Alfa has suffered for a long time under Fiat. The cheap option of dressing up Fiats to compete in the semi-premium market has given Alfa an image of being stylish but lacking substance. Marchionne sure talks a lot about how Alfa is the jewel in Fiat’s crown and that it has suffered from lots of poor decisions before his arrival, and which he’s still paying for. I think Mr Marchionne might want to start looking in the mirror occasionally to see where some of the blame lies. He believes that there is currently no return on investment, so his answer is to downgrade the brand further by persisting with selling uncompetitive products that have been surpassed by its competitors, with little or no upgrade. Seriously, the Giulietta and Mito need comprehensive upgrades to their interiors and ride/handling, not a minor facelift. The Giulietta is up against a new Golf that has been praised from Europe, to Africa and Australia to the US. If they do not give the Giulietta a significant interior upgrade to take the interactive infotainment from the Dart, add self parking, reverse camera etc to match Golf’s offerings, then Alfa is kidding itself that it has a viable future. Down here in Australia, despite cutting prices by 25%, it has not resulted in increased sales. Latest reviews suggest that the brand new Golf is still able to be purchased several thousand dollars cheaper than the Giulietta and with a superior equipment list. I honestly believe Marchionne has been delusional for quite some time about Alfa and I for one, do not believe anything he says around the future of the brand and its importance to his empire. If 2015 is the year that Alfa starts getting new, high volume product then 2014 is the year Alfa will be lucky to sell 50,000 cars. By then, the car buying public will have little awareness of the brand and it will in effect be like a new manufacturer trying to enter the market. Alfa will need a couple of decades to build its image through a coherent product like up, regular product updates, high levels of research and development and continuous investment. Actually, it needs the complete opposite of what Fiat has done since it took ownership in the mid 80’s, and most evident in the Marchionne era.
AlfaFan,I couldn’t agree more with you.I’m really bored of hearing Marcionne talking about the “new” Alfa with which will make 300.000 sales on 2016,which will be competitive,etc…a few years ago he said that he”couldn’t imagine an Alfa Romo with Fiat’s powetrains” and now guillietta and mitochondrial have these ridiculously thirstyle multiair engines that simply can’t compete the high-end Techonology of TSI,Ecoboost,tce,etc…Do you know why German automakers are so successful???because they don’t waste their time by talking about their future plans,THEY WORK HARDin order to make them happen…Right now guillietta can’t compete not only with a3,a class,v40 and 1 series but also with golf and focus..so does mito which in my opinion is too ugly to be an Alfa…If marchionne wants Alfa to be strong,then he needs to develop new more efficient engines new safety systems…I’m really sorry to say that and you will probably hate me but even Kia is in a really better place than Alfa right now…I’m sorry for this long post but I’m really furious.
“ridiculously thirstyle multiair engines that simply can’t compete the high-end Techonology of TSI,Ecoboost,tce,etc”
So MultiAir is not high-end enough, you think ordinary turbo engines are more advanced?
The current Giulietta, by the way, is designed to compete with the Golf (believe it or not), but since that car was released Fiat has come to its senses and intends to position Alfa as a premium brand, which I’m sure we’ll see the fruits of once the new Alfas show up in the marketplace, also with regards to the engine lineup.
Oh My God!!! People here are so very outdated I can see. They’re still talking about the 159 being stopped without considering the facts as to why it was. Just to remind everyone – The 159 Brera/Spider was developed with GM and the two companies jointly held the royalties to the premium platform. Soon after the launch, if you remember the companies went to court and split. Fiat won $2 billion which actually saved the company from bankruptcy. Then Fiat had restrictions on developing those cars further without the consent of the joint custodian GM. Besides that the 159 and its derivatives were overweight and not agile enough to be proper Alfas. They were expensive to build and selling poorly. Any CEO with half a brain would have cut his losses and ended production which was draining cash from the company and were outdated products.
Also all of you who readily point your finger at Marchionne pls consider that Alfa Romeo has been totally mismanaged since the late 60’s and probably has never made a profit since. Besides that when Fiat took over they made a lot of poor choices before Marchionne came in. Ditching rwd, really poor build quality and horrendous customer service from dealers etc. The brand was destroyed before he came. And yet since it is such a strong brand that it has survived and can be resurrected. A true Alfa is light weight, high tech, class leading and preferred to be rwd. And for the first time in decades we have one – the 4C. And yet you complain.
You all know that the scale of the German competition and what a formidable force they are. And I supposed any manufacturer can launch a few new models and take them on? It is very tough and you can’t make mistakes. It’s easy for the armchair CEOs who are firing in this page. But to do it in the real world is very hard. Only Lexus is a serious challenger to the Germans and even then not in all markets.
I hope all of you Marchionne bashers also understand simple economics. Alfa is a tiny brand with only exposure to EU. And we know the state of that market. There is no rainbow in sight as yet. Do you make huge investments in your brand when 90% of your market exposure is crumbling? Look at VW and Daimler’s quarterly results. Profits are dropping even at those cash machines.
Instead he focused on securing Chrysler that has made Fiat a global company. And is a life line for Alfa – RWD platforms, Larger dealer network, lower development costs etc etc.
Look at how well Fiat is already doing in the US. This is despite the US being predominantly sedan and SUV mkt. Not a city car market and yet it’s outselling the Mini which has many more variants. So how can Alfa Romeo fail with sedans and SUVs?
Marchionne has had the foresight to delay aimless product launches without a proper global structure. This is what was done before and therefore failed. He should be admired for changing that mad culture.
I know the delays are frustrating. And I am frustrated too but we need to be patient as a messed up brand takes a long time to turn around.
What I’m really annoyed about is people who blame Marchionne without considering all the facts.
What’s more frustrating is to see many Italians still wanting VW ownership of Alfa. Where is your loyalty? I am Asian and I love Alfa more than you guys. Italian-ness is the in the Alfa DNA. German fingers will contaminate and corrupt it. Do not get swayed by the VW propaganda machine. If you want to buy a German sports brand pls buy an Audi. Leave Alfa Italian for us the true Alfisti. Thank you.
really good and correct comment argt21 !! I see this in the same way….and I’m italian born in germany and I hate german cars and the arrogance of the germans..I would never buy a german car, especially now when they are dictating all over europe what all other countries have to do…. I’m an Alfa-fan and a Marchionne fan, because he is the only one who can rescue Alfa and I believe in him… If Alfa would be german in future I will never again buy an Alfa…then I would buy another italian car… ut never never a german car (from german owner)
You are absolutely right! Investing now massive amount of cash into AlfaRomeo will lead to total bankruptcy. Alfa need to become a global player, and Marchionne is what he is planning to do, penetrate markets such as the Middle East, Japan, nad finally the USA, starting with the 4C. Alfa needs to invest first in the brand, and this is the objective of lauching the 4C…investing billions only for the Italian market would mean certain death.
The trouble with the 4C is that as good as it may be, a few thousand cars a year is NOT enough to build a brand, let alone to build a dealer and distribution network.
Here in the UK I see two main problems with Alfa sales, which may or may not apply elsewhere in the world:
1. The complete lack of product. I suspect people here in the UK will often decide they want an Audi and simply turn up at a dealer, without knowing what they want and an Audi dealer will have something attractive to offer. The recent speculation that the next Mito will either be a hatch or a B segment SUV shows the same frustrating issue all over again. They need both at least! The Giulietta needs a Sprint coupe to replace the GT and the estate that they designed but put on ice. Not only this but you rarely see other Alfas on the road, so for the non car enthusiast public the company is simply forgotten about.
2. On the Mito the UK market Lusso is ruined by some poor detailing which has put me off buying one new. I would buy a nearly new Mito in Veloce spec, but none seem to ever appear for sale at a reasonable price. Mini sell loads of Coopers but it seems Alfa is still selling lots of the cheap Mito’s with the slightly rubbish trim options, made worse by the fact that the engine options and trim types have been changed frequently in a short period of time adding to the confusion. The fact that the website configurator tells you that you can’t have various options is also irritating, most of the Mito’s rivals make a big thing about personalisation, surely Alfa should learn from this!
There are reasons to be optimistic about the future though.
1. The 4C is great for Alfa’s image until the new product comes
2. The new Spider (according to the Telegraph video with the head of Alfa UK) will “be offered at a different price point to previous Alfa convertibles” thanks to the joint venture with Mazda. This is good news as if the car is not too much more expensive than the MX5 it will sell loads and loads here, which will again boost Alfa’s image and get the brand noticed.
3.The penny seems to be dropping about offering many more models, and entering new markets both geographically and in terms of product. IF the new cars appear on time and are good, I think we’ll find that Mito and Giulietta sales will increase significantly too, just by the brand being more visible and also people coming to dealers to buy say a Spider realising its not practical enough and getting a Mito instead. Also more cars will encourage more dealers. There are only 4 Alfa dealers in the whole of Scotland! I have a choice of BMW, Mercedes and Audi dealers within a couple of miles of my house. The nearest Alfa dealer is much further away putting the non- enthusiast off.
As a former GTV owner and someone who is about to buy a new Mito, I desperately want them to succeed. However they need to work harder and have the investment to launch new cars frequently to sustain interest and build sales to the necessary level.
“Alfa Rome makes part of a group that… has to deal with internal problems related to labor unions and local labor legislation”
Sorry, but this isn’t true.
Besides worker’s pay are far lower than in Germany or France or Sweden.
Alfa doesn’t sell because has no products.
Marchionne is used to invest only in words, not in new cars.
Lancia is dead. Alfa is starving. Fiat doesn’t feel well.
Chrysler-fiat can’t think to live in XXI century without european market.
Before reading the text, i already knew the results…
This makes me sad but… This shows that Fiat needs to do something about Alfa (includes Lancia), or the fate of this brands are horrible.
Italian Unit Labour cost is the highest in Europe, if not the world. Germans with their private debt, renting culture, and govt subsidized minimum wage system- is and will fail- as per Germany’s M.O., & Italy (Along with Fiat Group) will be in the pound seats
This is not true at all. Workers pay is far higher in France, Germany or Canada.
I don’t know about wages, but why aren’t there any foreign car manufacturers in Italy? They are in UK (Ford,GM,Nissan,Toyota,Honda). They are in Germany despite their mighty home industry (Ford, GM), They are in Belgium, in France and Spain. But why does not anyone like to come to Italy?????? 😉
Good point. No foreign car makers here, except for Chery/DR Motor. The reasons? many reasons!
*cough* Italian unions *cough*
FIAT Godfather Alfa since 1986
Is FIAT a good Godfather for Alfa Romeo? That is the question.
Pray and set an example (Godfather rules 1 and 2)
Since Fiat’s takeover 27 years ago, Alfa has yet to introduce a new mass-produced RWD car.
Instead, there are two A-segment hatchbacks, and the company has given up its racing heritage and its museum. FIAT closed the Alfa Museo Storico in Feb 2011 until further notice. This fact is attended by rumors of FIAT desiring to sell off the collection and the Italian Government declaring the collection a National Treasure.
Help to grow, give every encouragement and help to look forward (Godfather rules 3, 4 and 5)
Fiat acquired Alfa Romeo in 1986, and in 1995, with U.S. sales sagging, it pulled the brand from the U.S. This year the brand’s registrations are expected to fall again to shocking levels. Alfa Romeo may sell around 70.000 units. The next generation of Alfa Romeo vehicles will feature engines co-developed with iconic performance brand Ferrari, as parent company Fiat looks to return the humbled Italian marque to its former glory. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne admitted that making “engines worth wearing the Alfa badge” remained the biggest challenge in rejuvenating the brand. Alfa’s goal is selling 300.000 units in 2016.
Is FIAT a good Godfather for Alfa Romeo? Is it possible that this is one of those times when there’s just a question, not an answer.
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