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I have been reading the comments on this thread and agree with most of them; in particular I think @kevinpg 's comments are on track. We have two Alfa dealers within 50 miles of my location -- one is a mess, the other pretty professional. But neither had the car I wanted and neither had the capability to help me find the one I wanted. (Had to do it myself, which is a story for another day.) Couple that with @Giuliano 's spreadsheet of comparative sales, and it's pretty clear that Alfa is selling at 7-10% of the rate of Mercedes, BMW, et al; national inventory is low; and most Alfas get bought by Alfisti shortly after coming on the market. The question to ask: Is that necessarily a bad thing?

I bought an Alfa for three reasons: performance, style, and -- for lack of a better word -- exclusivity. Performance and style are obvious. "Exclusivity" isn't. I don't want the same car that everyone else has. The indistinguishable Nissan/Honda/Toyota boxes are just where I don't want to be. I can drive through my neighborhood and see a multitude of Toyotas, many VWs, ubiquitous GM and Ford products, Lexuses (Lexi?), Audis, BMWs and Mercedes. I have the only Alfa and I like that. I have seen (outside of dealers) three Alfas in the wild since April. We flash headlights at each other. An Alfa attracts attention because it is so rare; I would hate to see the marque become the Italian version of a Toyota Camry ... seen so often it becomes indistinguishable from the multitude of econo-boxes littering the highway.

A Proposal: I would offer to Alfa that they change the dealer paradigm. Yes dealers need cars on the lot to show and demo, but consider the US Alfa inventory (new and used) as just that -- a national inventory. Dealers are there to show the car, extol its' virtues, provide vehicle service, and have access to a national car inventory database. Make it super-easy and super-cheap to send a car between dealers. You're in Jacksonville and the database says that the car you want is in St Louis? We have a bulk contract with a car shipping company and can have it in JAX in two days for a $500 transfer fee. Change your mind and don't want it? It goes back in the national inventory and the would-be buyer only loses the $500 fee. Otherwise, no harm, no foul.

The key to this is that Alfas would be sent to "dealers" (which are closer to logistics depots than true dealers) to position them around the country for quick expediting to the final sales location. Dealers get sales credit and incentives based on how many car sales they are involved in .. whether because they generate the buyer or because they are stocking the car. This is a team effort of dealers working together, not in competition with each other. Remember, keeping a car on the showroom floor or on the lot is not free. It costs money to simply keep a car on the floor. Alfa needs to recognize this and financially incentivize dealers to cooperate with each other and increase sales.

I am not in the car dealership business and don't want anyone to think that I am. I am in the car buying business, however, and I want to keep seeing Alfa be unique, attractive, and a little bit exotic. I think a near-term (3-5 year) US sales target of 50,000 units per year would be an achievable milestone, and could springboard growth.

PS: There was an actual Alfa Romeo TV ad on the local TV station this morning! 6:45AM .. I'm not usually up that early so maybe its' not the first. My wife came in all excited because she saw it (while brushing her teeth). We had to run back the DVR to see it again. Nature is healing.
 

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IMHO, Alfa Romeo is not "competing" with Mercedes Benz, AUDI and BMW in the U.S. I do not see how Alfa Romeo can compete with those three brands and sell 200,000 - 300,000 cars per year in the U.S. I am sure that sales of 18,500 - 23,000 cars per year is not healthy nor sustainable but selling 200,000 cars, that will never happen. We may want to accept the fact that Alfa Romeo is an exclusive Brand, selling much less cars than the popular and the everyone-has-one Mercedes Benz, AUDI and BMW, and hopefully, Alfa Romeo sales will be at at the minimum required for a financially healthy life of the brand. It is clear that we also want a better customer service and a better dealerships capability.

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IMHO, Alfa Romeo is not "competing" with Mercedes Benz, AUDI and BMW in the U.S. I do not see how Alfa Romeo can compete with those three brands and sell 200,000 - 300,000 cars per year in the U.S. I am sure that sales of 18,500 - 23,000 cars per year is not healthy nor sustainable but selling 200,000 cars, that will never happen. We may want to accept the fact that Alfa Romeo is an exclusive Brand, selling much less cars than the popular and the everyone-has-one Mercedes Benz, AUDI and BMW, and hopefully, Alfa Romeo sales will be at at the minimum required for a financially healthy life of the brand. It is clear that we also want a better customer service and a better dealerships capability.

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If Alfa sell what they sell with only 2 cars in their lineup, is it fair to say that the bid three Germans would be in the same boat with only 2 cars to sell ? I mean, they probably have over 100 different models between them !
 

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Exactly.
What I get out of that video is 80% of the dealers suck.
Not necessarily, 20% doing 80% of the work occurs all the time, it’s called the Pareto principle. They definitely need an overhaul but I doubt that number is going to change much. Dealers in low populated areas for example are always going to be at a disadvantage. And we do want a dealer in every state, right..?
 

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Not necessarily, 20% doing 80% of the work occurs all the time, it’s called the Pareto principle. They definitely need an overhaul but I doubt that number is going to change much. Dealers in low populated areas for example are always going to be at a disadvantage. And we do want a dealer in every state, right..?
Yes, the 80/20 rule will probably always exist... Each dealer's sales performance should be weighted based on where they are located. You can't compare NY/Miami/LA to the smaller markets and be fair.

But, with such low sales (~18,000) that means 80% of US dealers are only selling about 3,600 cars per year. The margin on each sale would have to be massive to stay in business. So, will the smaller dealers invest in infrastructure/high level personnel, if the business isn't profitable?

Then the question becomes, why are the sales low and unprofitable? Are their low sales based on a problem with the dealer personnel, the products, or customer traffic?
 

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If Alfa sell what they sell with only 2 cars in their lineup, is it fair to say that the bid three Germans would be in the same boat with only 2 cars to sell ? I mean, they probably have over 100 different models between them !
Agreed. Alfa wasn't competing with BMW, the Giulia was competing with the M3/3-Series, S4/A4, C63, etc.. If they were concerned about increasing volume, they should have expanded the line to include a wagon, coupe and convertible, long-wheel-base model, etc... Thanks to Manly, the couple of additional models which were in the pipeline were shelved/cancelled.

BMW/Merc/Audi... have tremendous market "bandwidth" with the platforms they develop; unlike Alfa. FCA invested heavily into Giorgio, and made a best-in-class platform, they introduced the Giulia and Stelvio and forgot about it.

Now, the PSA guys want to sell Peugeots, so they'll slap the Alfa badge on PSA platforms. (Note, i have no problem with them using the Giorgio platform in Peugeots/DS/etc... but for some reason, i suspect they wouldnt be interested (and they'll use electrification as the excuse).)

If you put an Alfa badge/sticker on a Peugeot, is it an Alfa or a Peugeot?
 

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Agreed. Alfa wasn't competing with BMW, the Giulia was competing with the M3/3-Series, 34/A4, C63. Alfa should have expanded the line to include a wagon, coupe and convertible, long-wheel-base model, etc... if they were concerned about increasing volume. Thanks to Manly, the couple of additional models which were in the pipeline were shelved/cancelled.

BMW/Merc/Audi... have tremendous market "bandwidth" with the platforms they develop; unlike Alfa. FCA invested heavily into Giorgio, and made a best-in-class platform, and then they introduced the Giulia and Stelvio and forgot about it.

Now, the PSA guys want to sell Peugeots, so they'll slap the Alfa badge on PSA platforms. (Note, i have no problem with them using the Giorgio platform in Peugeots/DS/etc... but for some reason, i suspect they wouldnt be interested (and they'll use electrification as the excuse).)

If you put an Alfa badge/sticker on a Peugeot, is it an Alfa or a Peugeot?
With the advent of platform sharing, future skateboard EV platforms and autonomous driving, what "is" an Alfa, or any car company, will require details/styling/nuances that speak to the brand specifically. That will be a challenge for all car companies to stay unique or at least relevant.
 
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With the advent of platform sharing, future skateboard EV platforms and autonomous driving, what "is" an Alfa, or any car company, will require details/styling/nuances that speak to the brand specifically. That will be a challenge for all car companies to stay unique or at least relevant.
"Platform sharing".... fine, put the best-in-class platform developed by and for Alfa Romeo into other PSA brands. (As opposed to replacing a best-in-class platform used by Alfa today with a generic platform developed by a budget PSA brand). The last time Alfa was rebadging a budget brand, it didnt work out so well.

(And they could go further by PHEV-ifying Giorgio and use it in other PSA brands as well)

New Head of Alfa Design.....because Alfa's current designs are the problem?
New PSA platforms.... because Alfa's purpose-built platform is the problem?


IMHO

/end-rant
 

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If you read or watch any review of this car the person always notes a couple of features that are the best they have ever experienced. Chris Harris- "In terms of a turbocharged engine that really goes at the top end, I think this is the best I have ever driven." !!%%$#%^!

Two Points:
1. Just because you make a once in a generation car doesn't mean you will be profitable.
2. I hate that people have bad experiences with dealerships, but this isn't unique to Alfa. However, people may rip me for this statement, but if there aren't that many Giulias on the road than dealerships have far less opportunity to service them and learn. Therefore you have an affordable near "super car" that people (dealers & tow trucks) just don't have experience with and instead of just telling people, "damn man, I just don't know but I will find out." They delay, avoid phone calls, dodge responsibility...

Alfa Romeo launched two vehicles that both set ring records in their class and then they had to establish a grass roots North American Dealer network. It is what is. Everyone on this forum knows this and we are all trying to help each other out.
 

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I've been an Alfa owner since the 1990s and my dad since the 1970s. I love the marque. I love the cars. But the brand has been mismanaged for a very long time. Sergio tasked the engineers to build a great car and the Giulia is. My 2018 QF is phenomenal and 100% reliable. But Sergio always overpromised on the numbers. Then the poor guy died. The Car and Driver long term review of the 2017 QF didn't help things one bit. Then models got delayed or cancelled. Then options started to disappear from the order books. Then the models became stale. And all through this time, the biggest pain in Alfa's side has been the crappy dealer network. You can't have Dodge people selling and servicing Alfas. I realize Alfa has lost billions but it's part of a huge conglomerate which should invest money in people who are interested in running Alfa dealerships. Standalone Alfa dealerships. Give me the millions needed to open up a wonderful showroom and service center and let me hire enthusiasts who can bring pride to the brand. Instead, FCA mainly goes after existing Dodge or rich entities that peddle everything under the sun and we end up where we are.

I have zero hope. This brand is not a mass market brand. If you cannot transform or keep existing fans of the brand into loyal customers, you have zero chance of converting the masses unless you keep peddling $299 a month lease specials. I cringe every time I have to take my car for service into my exclusive high end dealership. Beautiful on the outside but shit workers on the inside. Kia made it with 10 year warranties. Tesla made it on innovation and beautiful ownership experience. Alfa still thinks a guy who sells a $20k mass market Hyundai should also sell a niche higher end product.
 

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Alfa Romeo launched two vehicles that both set ring records in their class and then they had to establish a grass roots North A
those should of been the only models available IMO for at least a year. Sell only QV versions and let the service centers get a grasp. Launching two different versions of same car just made it worse and they still haven’t figured it out. They would of sold out on QVs if people didn’t have an option to spend 20k less on a 2.0.
 

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but if there aren't that many Giulias on the road than dealerships have far less opportunity to service them and learn.
For several decades, Mercedes has been flying engineers to various markets to provide training to local dealer technicians. What's stopping Alfa from doing this?

And I agree with you that other brands have dealer issues as well. But I have to believe that the majority of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and dare I say VW dealerships really care about doing a decent job. There are exceptions all the time but I feel that every Alfa dealer in Southern California is staffed by morons who could care less about Alfa and really know nothing about it. Some even call the marque Alpha Romero. My dealer sends me emails with the headline "thank you for bringing your car for service at Westlake Hyundai". Yeah that's what proper management does right? Things are so bad with all these guys.

Years ago I walked into a Mazda dealership to look at the RX7 and the saleslady told me that it's one of the best performing cars on the market. When I asked her why, she said it's got a phenomenal engine. When I asked how many cylinders it had, she said she's not sure but thinks it's a V6. Is it any wonder that Mazda is such a small player compared to its competitors? They make the most fun Japanese cars overall but who really wants to buy a Mazda? Alfa is 100% in the same boat.
 

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For several decades, Mercedes has been flying engineers to various markets to provide training to local dealer technicians. What's stopping Alfa from doing this?

And I agree with you that other brands have dealer issues as well. But I have to believe that the majority of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and dare I say VW dealerships really care about doing a decent job. There are exceptions all the time but I feel that every Alfa dealer in Southern California is staffed by morons who could care less about Alfa and really know nothing about it. Some even call the marque Alpha Romero. My dealer sends me emails with the headline "thank you for bringing your car for service at Westlake Hyundai". Yeah that's what proper management does right? Things are so bad with all these guys.
Can confirm SoCal Alfa dealers are staffed by morons. Of all them the only salesguy who exceeded my expectations in professionalism was at Ontario, and he used to work at one of the big German marques. Anaheim is the worst dealer I've been to regardless of brand. The salesguy had the audacity to refuse me a test drive of a base Sprint without talking numbers first! Shameful.

Van Nuys has a lot of inventory and tries hard to make a good deal. But they are also terrible with communication. Finance people don't answer the phone, salesman disappears for days on end, etc.
 

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It seems FCA management when introducing Alfa back into the US market took the lowest cost option by handing the right to sell Alfa products to a lot of dealers that were perhaps not best placed to service the brand. Maybe there wasn't a lot of choice with any established market power. The fact they there were multi franchise dealers though is not a surprise and that has risks attached to it.

However, being a multi franchise outlet is not necessarily a bad thing. Done correctly.

Prior the ordering my Giulia I had dealt for years and purchased Audi, BMW and VW cars from a dealership that also sells Ford, Jaguar, Honda, Jeep , Nissan, Subaru, Land Rover, Renault, BMW and others. It is located outside a major metro centre, has a shopping population of perhaps 300,000 people and sits around 100km outside of a major city (5 million residents) hence the large number of brands. All those brands are located in separate showrooms, with specialist staff and for the premium brands at least dedicated service centres. All communications comes from XXXX Audi or XXX BMW and for 20 years the service has been great. Then I went and bought an Alfa from an Alfa dealer....not so good but another story.

My real point here though is that in Australia we are seeing more and more forward integration by the major car companies - Mercedes and Honda to name two where they have/are taking over the retail process. There are no franchised dealers as such. The forecourts remain but the business of retailing the car is Mercedes or Honda owned and operated the process controlled by the brand from ordering, through selling, pricing and finance, management of second hand values, service and spares. The customer is therefore a Mercedes (or other) customer - not a customer of Joe Blow Motors. With online and social media, in car comms and data sharing there is no reason for manufacturers to have to rely on dealers in the way they have in the past.

I'm not entirely sure how car retailing works in the US but for selected markets at least, a forward integrated model might benefit Alfa especially as new models are released and that they have now have a toe-hold in the market.
 

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"Platform sharing".... fine, put the best-in-class platform developed by and for Alfa Romeo into other PSA brands. (As opposed to replacing a best-in-class platform used by Alfa today with a generic platform developed by a budget PSA brand). The last time Alfa was rebadging a budget brand, it didnt work out so well.

(And they could go further by PHEV-ifying Giorgio and use it in other PSA brands as well)

New Head of Alfa Design.....because Alfa's current designs are the problem?
New PSA platforms.... because Alfa's purpose-built platform is the problem?


IMHO

/end-rant
I hear you 100%.

I think, from what I read, the Giorgio platform is only shared with the Jeep GC-L and the new Maserati Grecale. The future ambitions of Imparato is to move to electrification (EV, PHEV, Hybrid), which may not have been considered when Giorgio was developed. You shouldn't just shoehorn that stuff in. Also, it is possible (and I would think likely) that Giorgio is overdeveloped (which is good for us) but makes the platform expensive for more pedestrian cars at Stellantis to share. Subaru had a similar issue with the Impreza/WRX, the Impreza was more expensive to build than necessary as it included a lot of extra rigidity and chassis improvements required for the sporty WRX. Now, they are separated in development.

Hopefully, AR can have a seat at the table in developing the STLA Large platform, and make the necessary additions to to retain what you love about Giorgio.
 
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A lot of the problems could be solved by simply extending the 4-year factory warranty to 6-7 years and run an advertising campaign on it. That would send a very strong message about Alfa standing behind its product. All the car reviewers and media would have something positive to report about. I can't even tell how many reviews I have seen when the review ends with it is a beautiful car, drives better than anything else in its class, but the reliability is questionable therefore get a BMW.
This is the only think I tend to hear about my car " ohh you better be good at working on your own car after buying an alfa HAHAH!" kind of thing. But they know nothing about the driving experience, the brand history, the performance. And it's really frustrating having to tell people that i bought it for less than a new Honda or Toyota.

On a side note people talk about the dealerships being terrible, I guess I'm lucky as the entire buying experience from start to finish has been exceptional, I mean it was actually a pleasure to buy, they worked with my budget and got me into a car I am genuinely proud to drive. Especially when I pass 30-40 bmw's and audis who's drivers look like they would rather have taken a bus or ride a bike.
 

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BMW hooked me in with their ED (not that) program. It's one thing to drive in Germany but, Italy is something else. Imagine picking up an Alfa in Milan and driving it all over Europe!
Sadly, European delivery is not offered by many brands any more. It was a good discount to go that route too, your discount basically paid for your European trip.
 

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... people talk about the dealerships being terrible, I guess I'm lucky as the entire buying experience from start to finish has been exceptional...
I've posted before about my Dealership and relationship with them. I must be just as lucky.
I did my damndest to buy a used QV from them but the market being what it was/is no Dealer would do a transfer to them.
My Dealer still treats me like a valued customer, in exchange I have them do whatever work I need done, including installing my Akrapovic exhaust and GTAm tail lights.
They are an awesome group of car enthusiasts.
 

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I've posted before about my Dealership and relationship with them. I must be just as lucky.
I did my damndest to buy a used QV from them but the market being what it was/is no Dealer would do a transfer to them.
My Dealer still treats me like a valued customer, in exchange I have them do whatever work I need done, including installing my Akrapovic exhaust and GTAm tail lights.
They are an awesome group of car enthusiasts.
Yeah, it's all about that "one time". I had a couple of bad experience with nothing serious at stakes, and eventually found a great dealer... 90 miles away. When something serious happens, like a breakdown (happened to me last week) and the car goes to the closest dealer that's not the great one you like, things can get ugly. I'm in this very situation right now and this is seriously pushing me away from the brand.
 
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