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‘19 Giulia Ti Sport Q4
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Discussion Starter #1
Folks,

Maybe I'm obsessed, and certainly I'm annoyed by the inconvenience of not having an in-town dealer, but I'm also totally perplexed as to why Suburban Alfa Romeo closed. You know...you try to put these kinds of things in the context of understanding your world, and I'm tellin' you, I'm vexed and need closure!

In a nutshell, the Suburban Collection sells and services 34 automobile brands in 54 retail locations throughout Michigan (in 11 cities) and California, and they only dumped Alfa. They sell McLaren, Fiat, Aston...but Alfa got axed.

Driving around Ann Arbor, it would be a weird day that I don't see an Alfa on the road. Typically, I see about two different Alfas every day, both Stelvios and Giulias. Compared to other brands in the pricepoints, those are unimpressive sighting numbers, however, reading these forums where so many report never seeing other Alfas on the road, that makes it seem like they're thick as thieves around here. Truthfully, I'm rarely the only Alfa in a parking lot, and I've had a couple of times in recent weeks where I was one of three Alfas parked on the street of the same block downtown. Not that rare, it's fair to say, right?

I thought I totally understood why Alfa dealerships closed in many markets where forum members report never seeing other cars, and thought I understood that some markets were simply not amenable to Alfas for a variety of other reasons like a traditionally weak import segment, or perhaps a small target demographic. Ann Arbor, though, seems right in the sweet spot for the marque demographically and economically, further bolstered by the fact that FCA is headquartered about an hour away and between friends, family, and employees, should pull some extra sales because of that.

So if the market is right and the dealership isn't a struggling enterprise, why did the dealer drop the brand here? You'd think that, for a dealer of this size, that the marginal costs would be low, but maybe the Alfa franchise demands are out of sync with what dealers want or are used to from other brands? I guess my big question is whether the problem of dealership closures is an FCA management issue more than a sales/market response?
 

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Why don't you ask the dealer?
I did, but I don't believe everything I hear, preferring to draw my own conclusions from a variety of sources, and I know there are some smart and connected folks on here with insightful things to say. I hope some chime in.
 

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I did, but I don't believe everything I hear, preferring to draw my own conclusions from a variety of sources, and I know there are some smart and connected folks on here with insightful things to say. I hope some chime in.
What did the dealer tell you?
 

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My guess would be that Alfa wanted some exclusivity....such as a dedicated showroom and a few other things that were just not economically feasible based on sales numbers...
 

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Pissed off one too many people and got low CSI numbers? That seems to be why my original dealer was shut down
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My guess would be that Alfa wanted some exclusivity....such as a dedicated showroom and a few other things that were just not economically feasible based on sales numbers...
Thanks. They did indeed have a separate showroom for Alfa/Fiat, so that’s an interesting thing. I’m not sure if Fiat got folded into the CDJR showroom or not, because while the Fiat Ann Arbor site is just showing an error message, the Fiat brand is still on the Suburban Collection parent website while Alfa’s is no longer.

I’m still surprised that the sales numbers wouldn’t support a dealership, particularly in combination with Fiat, but my tint/wrap guy did inquire about the vacant Alfa showroom to possibly move his biz into, and he said asking price was way high.

I suppose as with most businesses, finding the niche is a complex matrix of factors. For me, not knowing the auto biz, I’d have thought that a group like FCA would have had a little more staying power to launch the brand, especially in key markets. Of course, with a population of only about 130k, Ann Arbor probably isn't a key market, despite it seeming to me to be a good target market for the brand.
 

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Pissed off one too many people and got low CSI numbers? That seems to be why my original dealer was shut down
Most likely and did not know how to sell the car. Selling way too many other marques. Not ideal for Alfa Romeo and have seen this a lot, same issue in 90's selling through Chrysler dealers... Alfa needs to be with another marque that promotes it well, Maserati would be ideal, not Fiat or 34 other marques. Plain and simple they lost money, then dropped them. I have the list of sales for (Jan-Feb) all dealers in the US, they are not even on it so it tells me they have not sold a car in awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Pissed off one too many people and got low CSI numbers? That seems to be why my original dealer was shut down
That I can imagine; although they had a stand-alone showroom, all the paperwork and service were done over at the CDJR showroom a mile-and-a-half away or so, and so any of the experience cultivated at Alfa's showroom was quickly converted to a Chrysler experience. The CDJR facility is nice, though, and the service was fine, so it wasn't what I'd call bad.
 

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Bummer to hear... Jason you mind sharing how the DC/MD/VA dealers are doing? IE reisterstown and Tyson's corner dealerships? The Annapolis showroom shut down late last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Most likely and did not know how to sell the car. Selling way too many other marques. Not ideal for Alfa Romeo and have seen this a lot, same issue in 90's selling through Chrysler dealers... Alfa needs to be with another marque that promotes it well, Maserati would be ideal, not Fiat or 34 other marques. Plain and simple they lost money, then dropped them. I have the list of sales for (Jan-Feb) all dealers in the US, they are not even on it so it tells me they have not sold a car in awhile.
Ann Arbor Suburban Alfa only sold Fiat and Alfa. Sales guys were initally specific to those two brands, but started doing double-duty at the CDJR showroom in early '19, I think.

The Alfa dealership closed before Christmas '19.
 

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Bummer to hear... Jason you mind sharing how the DC/MD/VA dealers are doing? IE reisterstown and Tyson's corner dealerships? The Annapolis showroom shut down late last year.
No I can't but I can give you an idea. I only have stats from Jan on. Top sales Dealer is Van Nuys in LA with 198+ sold per month.
Lowest in FL with 9 sold total.
 

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Ann Arbor Suburban Alfa only sold Fiat and Alfa. Sales guys were initally specific to those two brands, but started doing double-duty at the CDJR showroom in early '19, I think.

The Alfa dealership closed before Christmas '19.
I see. One reason I do not see them on the list. Fiat is done, they should have kept Alfa going vs Fiat. Dealer here in San Diego, Dumped their Fiat for Alfa Only and does well. Sits dead middle in dealer sales. They also are one of the best dealers for service and are highly knowledgeable. Makes a huge difference.
 

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One thing I've noticed about both my local dealer, and the dealer I ended up purchasing from is that it seems like they're ordering fewer of the more whambam Alfa colors (Misano, Montecarlo, Alfa Red, yellow calipers, etc) and have gone to mostly just ordering German standard silver, white, black, and all with red calipers for the well optioned 2020s.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's a real bummer. The user in Ann Arbor I just got my all-weather mats from mentioned the dealer closing as a reason for not getting another Alfa. How far away is your nearest dealer now?
I go up to Golling on Telegraph & Square Lk. Takes an hour. And it's looking like they stink, too. The only time I've had the car in so far, when I went to pick it up, I stood around waiting for 10 minutes without any acknowledgement from the "service managers," then the one who finally looked up said I had to talk to one of the other guys for Alfa, so I waited a bit more. After driving the car home, I'm thinking that it sounds really janky and buzzy, more than normal, so I look under the hood to find the air box isn't screwed together, the band clamp on the MAF is spinning loose, and the MAF sensor plug is broken. Not impressed.
 

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I go up to Golling on Telegraph & Square Lk. Takes an hour. And it's looking like they stink, too. The only time I've had the car in so far, when I went to pick it up, I stood around waiting for 10 minutes without any acknowledgement from the "service managers," then the one who finally looked up said I had to talk to one of the other guys for Alfa, so I waited a bit more. After driving the car home, I'm thinking that it sounds really janky and buzzy, more than normal, so I look under the hood to find the air box isn't screwed together, the band clamp on the MAF is spinning loose, and the MAF sensor plug is broken. Not impressed.
That sucks extra bad. There are two more options in Metro Detroit though...
 

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No I can't but I can give you an idea. I only have states from Jan on. Top sales Dealer is Van Nuys in LA with 198+ sold per month.
Lowest in FL with 9 sold total.
I’m guessing the FL dealer is in the pan handle?
 

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I assume it closed for all the reasons that others are closing, not great sales/ no demand. My local dealer closed 3 weeks ago and now the closest one is 3 hours away. This might be a theme for a while until Alfa can make headway for sales.
 

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I will say it's not the end of the world to drive to another city, not ideal but not a pain really
I’m guessing the FL dealer is in the pan handle?
Dead Last:

Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourn​
69014​
ALFA ROMEO FIAT OF DAYTONA
6​
11​

#1
Los Angeles​
69381​
RUSSELL WESTBROOK ALFA ROMEO FIAT OF VAN NUYS
193​
220​
 
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