Giulietta, gone :(
AO Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United Kingdom
The trouble with the Giulia is they sprent all that money and effort making a brilliant product for a sector which was/is shrinking and is dominated by manufacturers who didn't stop production of their predecessors nearly 5 years before. They've had to pretty much start from scratch, in a shrinking market full of people who don't want to take risks, not least with an Italian brand with a (somewhat underserved) reputation for fragility and (mostly deserved) questionnable aftercare. Stelvio is similar - no predecessor, but they're late to the party and the 'safer bets' (in the publics eyes) already have established models to go to instead.
The sales appeared to re-ignite when they launched the Giulia Veloce as it was a new engine and trim level which early adopters could trade up to, and it attracted new buyers from rivals too, but since the Veloce there's been nothing other than special editions and tiny tweaks that most people wouldn't notice. Giulia's been around 3 years this year - it needs stepping up a notch inside (to shut the press-up), new infotainment and minor tweaks outside to distinguish it from the older models, but until the hybrid/electric powertrains are available that's all that's really wrong with the product. Besides the above paragraph the issues lie with the terrible marketing - it'd barely be sufficient if Alfa were established in the Giulia sector, but with a 5 year gap in products and their reputation it needed so much more. The product was brilliant and got extremely positive reviews from press and customers alike, so what was there to be afraid of? What little marketing they've done has been unimaginitive and low-budget in its appearance. FCA seem to be able to market Jeep fairly sucessfully but when it comes to their original Italian brands it's a hopeless effort. I loathe VW Group but the Skoda adverts that start off with Paloma Faith singing and the viewer with no idea what the ad is for, then the cars appear, shows what can be done if you put a bit of effort into it. Even Fiat's old Punto adverts with the Brummie saying 'Don't you want me baby' at the petrol station at least stuck in your mind - who's gonna remember a recent FCA advert for anything other than it being pretty average? Alfa have one of the strongest fan bases in the car industry, but have made absolutely no use of it in the promoting or otherwise. Sack the marketing agency, I say.
The dealer network is a further issue, though as already mentioned they are improving, slowly. There probably are as many good ones as bad ones now, and seperating many of the Alfa/Jeep showrooms from the Fiat part will probably keep the Audi/Merc/BMW brigade from getting too twitchy. That said losing as many small family run dealers as they have and replacing them with the jack of all trades dealerships just because they could stomach the costs to upgrade buildings and signage, with seemingly no thought for how the staff treat the customers really boils by p*ss. If you're going to go down that route with Alfa you need to be aiming for Sytner or HR Owen, not Arnold chuffing Clark or Stoneacre.
Finally only two new (ish) models in the range, both requiring fairly hefty financial commitments and no lower price models to get people into Alfa ownership like a MiTo or Giulietta replacement is a massive own-goal. I said this part years ago and maintain it. FCA are reaping what they sow I'm afraid.