Alfa will add a Giulia wagon to boost European sales
1 November 2016 - www.autonews
Alfa Romeo will launch a station wagon version of its Giulia sedan in Europe to help boost sales of the key model, people briefed on the matter told Automotive News Europe.
Neither Alfa nor its parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have commented on whether the Giulia will get a wagon version but the sources said it will be launched late next year.
There is no word whether the wagon will be sold outside Europe including in the U.S. where wagons are less popular than in Europe.
The Giulia has been in sale in mainland Europe since May and in the UK since this month. It was the fourth best-selling midsize premium car in September (see table below).
"The Giulia sedan is doing reasonably well but without a wagon it is not competing in the largest portion of the midsize premium segment," said Felipe Munoz, an analyst at JATO Dynamics market researchers.
Wagons account for 42 percent of sales of premium midsize cars in Europe, compared with 33 percent for sedans, Munoz said.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said is pleased with the Giulia and he expects its U.S. launch to help boost sales. The sedan received a number of awards that recognized it as "one of the best technical launches that this group has ever carried out," he said on a call Tuesday with analysts to discuss FCA's third-quarter results.
Marchionne expects annual global sales of between 75,000 and 100,000 for the Giulia sedan.
He said the Giulia sedan will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year and "hopefully" in China in the first or second quarter next year.
Marchionne said he is encouraged by the versatility of the Giorgio architecture that was created for the Giulia.
FCA can use the architecture to build a "phenomenal" range of rear- and all-wheel-drive cars, which may even expand in some form to the Jeep brand, he said.
The architecture proved to be "all we expected and more," Marchionne said. "I think its utilization across a wide range of applications within the group is probably the most beneficial thing we have done from a technical development in a long time," he said.
Marchionne confirmed that the Stelvio, Alfa's first SUV, will debut next month at the Los Angeles auto show and likely will go on sale globally in the first quarter of next year. The midsize model also uses the Giorgio platform and will be a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 competitor. It will be built in FCA's Cassino plant, Central Italy, which also manufactures the Giulia and the Europe-only Giulietta compact hatchback.
Alfa sold 5,105 Giulia sedans in mainland Europe in the first nine months, putting it in fifth place in its segment behind the Mercedes-Benz C class, BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Jaguar XE, according to JATO data. All these models except the XE have wagon variants. Jaguar has no plans to offer an XE wagon.
In September, the Giulia did better, moving to fourth place with 1,718 sales. Sales will improve now that the car is available in the UK, Europe's second-largest market after Germany.
Mercedes C class leads
Mercedes C class 4,300 -16%
BMW 3 series 3,033 +11%
Audi A4 2,091 +55%
Alfa Romeo Giulia 1,718 New
Jaguar XE 845 -26%
Volvo S60 503 -19%
Lexus IS 340 +28%
Infiniti Q50 209 +32%
Nine-month midsize premium sedan sales in Continental Europe with % change
Mercedes C class 35,568 -16%
BMW 3 series 24,931 +8%
Audi A4 23,803 +76%
Jaguar XE 8,709 +117%
Alfa Romeo Giulia 5,105 New
Volvo S60 4,981 -8%
Lexus IS 2,755 -7%
Infiniti Q50 1,635 -1%