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2013 UK Sales

After a decent December where the sales of Alfa Romeo were up 8% on 2012, the year finished with 5,687 registrations, a 21.59% drop on 2012.

To those who say "what can you expect with only two models?", AR only just beat Smart who had 5,314 registrations.

Nobody can say the MiTo and Giulietta are bad cars. It is clear that Giulietta has not achieved the sales that Marchionne was pursuing, so what went wrong?
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Complete an utter lack of advertising. Other than the very recent channel 4 sponsorships i dont remember the last time is saw a proper Alfa advert.
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The last Alfa ad budget I read was £10 M in 2012. For 6000 cars that's a lot per unit.
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Not enough dealers. If VW or anyone else had 60 odd dealers they wouldn't sell many cars either
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Looking at the figures I would be more worried if I liked Lotus.

Ha ha ha look at Proton - 20 cars all year :SHAKE:
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I have to say I don't quite understand how they sold so few Proton cars - that is less than 1 car per dealer all year! Maybe they just didn't declare their figures? I have to say that I have no idea where my nearest Proton dealer might be either. Or what they make.

As for Alfa advertising, I haven't seen much about the MiTo but I've seen Giulietta adverts on a reasonably regular basis in the big glossy mags. I do think that seeing cars on the road, or as you pass the dealer showrooms, is more effective than magazine advertising, certainly in my case.
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Originally Posted by MikeX159 View Post
I have to say I don't quite understand how they sold so few Proton cars - that is less than 1 car per dealer all year! Maybe they just didn't declare their figures? I have to say that I have no idea where my nearest Proton dealer might be either. Or what they make.

As for Alfa advertising, I haven't seen much about the MiTo but I've seen Giulietta adverts on a reasonably regular basis in the big glossy mags. I do think that seeing cars on the road, or as you pass the dealer showrooms, is more effective than magazine advertising, certainly in my case.
on the last note, considering how few they have sold I have started seeing alot more of them, I now tend to see at least one on almost every reasonably length journey i.e over 15 mins.
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Ha ha ha look at Proton - 20 cars all year :SHAKE:
Yeh, but look at it, Proton, I ask you who'd want one? Even pensioners can now buy a Kia or Hyundai and have a bit of cred.
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Complete an utter lack of advertising. Other than the very recent channel 4 sponsorships i dont remember the last time is saw a proper Alfa advert.
Regular adverts in the Times at the moment......
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I don't think the Giulietta has been badly advertised - they did a long running TV, billboard & press campaign for what must've been about a year following launch, and the odd ad in between, but to run one in the last 12 months wouldn't have hurt, as I've not seen anything until the recent Channel 4 sponsorship ads. MiTo hasn't had enough advertising - I've seen nothing for about 2 years.

The offers they do, sometimes good, are not advertised & the website seems to have one set of offers in one place & others in another, which confuses people. The website generally takes too long to get updated - like now, new Giulietta available to order & being advertised but old model on the configurator & brochure sections of alfaromeo.co.uk - what good's that to anyone?

Finally dealers. Not enough of them & not enough quality of service at many of the ones that we do have. Having worked at one, trying to find out what models were available for us to order meant basically phoning Alfa UK & finding out - unlike the Fiat side of the operation I didn't seem to get updates through the dealer portal for Alfa, so I couldn't always accurately advise sales staff (especially during recent MiTo S2 & euro 6 engine switchover changes), which in turn left customers confused & possibly going elsewhere.

It seems to me like there's too many people in charge, both in dealers and I'm guessing Alfa UK, who care more about a quick buck than long term success of the brand, but you try getting a job with them - I sent a CV & long letter to them on more than one occasion. Heard nothing till i emailed the Directors office the first time (HR never answer the phone) & 2nd time it took over 2 weeks just to get a 'sorry no suitable vacancies' email back. I've now left the Fiat/Alfa dealer I worked at & have gone to a rival manufacturer before I fell completely out of love with Fiat/Alfa. It was too painful to deal with on a daily basis so I decided until I can find a role with someone who cares about the brands & their customers, I'm better off just being a customer. A great shame.
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And price. Everyone else is discounting like crazy, but Alfa are offering only minimal incentives (this, I suspect is straight from the top: Marchionne repeatedly said he'll never sell at a loss just to gain share)...
A few people on here have traded to Focus STs.. those used to cost the same as a GQV, now they're about £4k less. Audi A3s or BMW 1s are much more expensive on the sticker than a Giulietta, but when the lease is worked out, with its hidden discount, they work out as the same price, and a Golf works out cheaper. You've really got to want the Alfa to buy it in that situation.
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Looking at the figures I would be more worried if I liked Lotus.

Ha ha ha look at Proton - 20 cars all year :SHAKE:
My wife has a Proton Satria Neo GXR 2007 model we bought it new, its utter rubbish and only has 25k miles on it.

Its has cost us in repairs for 2013 around 1100 pounds (converted from AUD) and parts forget the waiting time. Took a month to get a waterpump seal. 3 weeks to get 2 fuel pumps, one had failed new out of the box!!!
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I think the problem is that Alfa has only two models in two very competitive market niches. Smart hasn't really got much competition in the super compact (or whatever is called) segment.
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Yeh, but look at it, Proton, I ask you who'd want one? Even pensioners can now buy a Kia or Hyundai and have a bit of cred.
Humberside police use them for local beat cars (not the highways officers). Seem to work to get officers to crime scenes.
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@Bigfoot ... Smart's competition is the FIAT500 TwinAir. Smarts were bought for their low emissions, particularly in London where if your car is under 100g per km, you don't pay the city's Congestion Charge of £10 per entry.

Walk around Marylebone or Mayfair now and you'll lose count of the number of 500s parked outside shops and cafés.
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I think the problem is that Alfa has only two models in two very competitive market niches. Smart hasn't really got much competition in the super compact (or whatever is called) segment.
I can accept your point to some degree but the stark reality is that Vauxhall sold as many Astras in December alone as Alfa Romeo sold cars in total in 2013.

Even allowing for the UK's conservative buying habits, Alfa's lingering poor reputation and a shortage of dealers - that is still an alarmingly poor result. Marchionne chased volume sales with Giulietta and the car was made to be acceptable to the mainstream buyers as well as the enthusiasts. It is good looking, competent and has arguably a premium badge. And still the sales are poor and are 21.59% down on 2012 in spite of a market which increased by 10.8% in 2013.
Private buyers accounted for 47.5% of car sales in 2013 in the UK so you can't just blame fleet buyers.

Marchionne's Grand Plan is not working in the UK and I wonder what needs to be done to break this circle of declining sales which is strangling Alfa Romeo in the UK.

2013 sales in UK
Focus 87,350
Astra 68,000
Golf 64,951
Giulietta around 4,500?

Alfa Romeo UK Sales

2009 - 9,067
2010 - 8,834
2011 - 11,563 (Giulietta launch in 2010)
2012 - 7,253
2013 - 5,687

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Quote:
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Marchionne chased volume sales with Giulietta

Although true, they werent chasing the volumes of Vauxhall, they arent geared up to. I believe the first year and a half of sales of the G hit targets in Europe as a whole. Then they slumped, due in no small part to the over reliance on the home market, which has been hit more than most in the recent economic troubles.
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will quality equate to sales?

- will be interesting to see if Mazda's strong line up in 2014 equates to heathly sales
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Isnt the G slightly more expensive that the rivals mentioned tho, yes it is a slightly more premium brand compared to Vauxhal and ford but it does seem fairly expensive.
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The Giulietta is priced in line with the VW Golf, but VW are propping up future market values in their leases to discount Golfs by between £1000 and 2000, on top of whatever dealer incentives are being offered. The Giulietta is a better car than the Golf, but when you price them up on a lease, the VW comes out far cheaper to buy.
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Although true, they werent chasing the volumes of Vauxhall, they arent geared up to. I believe the first year and a half of sales of the G hit targets in Europe as a whole. Then they slumped, due in no small part to the over reliance on the home market, which has been hit more than most in the recent economic troubles.
I am not convinced that Giulietta hit the targets they wanted in Europe, unless you refer to the startup units they thought they might sell. Sales were not bad as such, but they fell far short of Marchionne's aspirations.

According to FIAT Group Analysis, Giulietta sales for the whole of Europe in 2011 were 74,923, which dropped to 62,061 in 2012 - a drop of 17%. Almost 50% of those sales were from the Italian market.

This was from FIAT Group plan in April 2010 >>>>>>>

"By 2014, Marchionne expects Alfa to account for 500,000 annual sales worldwide. That's up from about 100,000 in 2009"

According to that plan, only 85,000 cars a year were to be sold in the US in 2014, leaving 415,000 Alfas to be sold in the rest of the world and a break-even of 300,000 units according to Marchionne. Makes you wonder where he plucked these figures from doesn't it? By this estimate, sales have fallen embarrassingly short of the targets.

Actual production of Alfa Romeo, worldwide for 2012 was 99,853 units.
That is 2.4% of the global FIAT-Chrysler sales.

Clearly at this point they expected to be in the USA with the brand no later than 2012, but if Marchionne had been a football manager he would have been on his bike long before now. He can thank his business acumen in negotiating the Chrysler deal for his survival.

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The Giulietta is priced in line with the VW Golf, but VW are propping up future market values in their leases to discount Golfs by between £1000 and 2000, on top of whatever dealer incentives are being offered. The Giulietta is a better car than the Golf, but when you price them up on a lease, the VW comes out far cheaper to buy.
when it came out it was better than the mk6, but better than the mk7 too?
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When Honda had a bad reputation for chocolate cam-chain tensioners on their V-engined motorcycles during the early Eighties, the whole market pretty much abandoned buying them.

What Honda had to do was get radical to overcome the prejudice and they produced the technical tour de force which was the VFR750F. The beast had gear driven cams (to dispel the cam-chain worries) and was night and day better quality than anything else on sale, bar BMW maybe... but at a competetive price. At the time it was suggested that Honda lost money on every one made.

For Alfa to shrug off it's dubious reputation once and for all, they would need to bring out something relatively equally spectacular. There's no direct parallel between Alfa's "bad quality" and a single component that they can introduce with the new model to prove that they've "fixed" reliability.. so they have to do what VW/Audi has essentially done since the 90's, which is to improve the quality of the cabin, as well as actually improving quality of the other components too.

Alfa are working with JD Power to improve reliability as per JD surveys... this is useful if someone is interested enough to look up the league tables (being 31st worse out of 32 won't do it...) but it's not enough by itself. AR also need to improve the "apparent" quality (interiors) which is where they have generally been behind the curve since the 1970s. Everyone knoe Alfa has been skint for years and interiors is an obvious area to scrimp...

It'll mean that the cars will have to be sold at a lower margin maybe (even at a loss) just to get the sales momentum and establish in the market place that Alfa's are "cool" and also rather splendid. Then they have to follow up one "hit" model with another... (again, AR have not been able to do this very well in the past... though they hit the cross-bar in the 1990s.. )

This will be tricky because AR (Fiat) has shareholders and not all that much cash to begin with...

Come round full circle and we see "Giulia" and "USA". Giulia has to be bloody good (see above) and USA is important deliberately because AR doesn't have so many connotations with "poor quality" that it might have in Europe. There is also a ready-made (ish) dealer network that is used to selling "premium" products (Jeep) rather than the formerly-Fiat (not necessarily bad.. but we're talking about market perception) dealers that Alfa uses over here.

So... if you transpose all that onto what Sergio is doing, you can see that it makes some sense (though you might disagree with some of his approach). Alongside Giulia we'll have the Spidex and the SuV and possibly the aka 169.. it's a strategy and all I can say is that it's how I would do it...? Let's see.

Of course then once AR has more critical mass they can roll out better things in Europe too... but essentially it's a model-led recovery.. so the "models" have to be not just "good" but extraordinary. Could be possible...

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will quality equate to sales?

- will be interesting to see if Mazda's strong line up in 2014 equates to healthy sales
Good point. They are 19% up (31,228 units) on 2012 sales and are not yet showing the effects of the new Mazda 3 or the forthcoming new Mazda 2. The Mazda 6 is a striking car and seems to be well equipped and competitively priced.

Still short of where they were in 2009 with almost 48,000 units.
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The 4C, despite its limitations, is a good start
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