Alfa Romeo is planning to push its return to the United States with a dramatic enlargement of its product portfolio, a broader marketing campaign and an expansion of its dealer network that will boost its sales capacity.
Reid Bigland, the executive from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of Alfa Romeo, said the number of Alfa dealers will grow significantly in the near term.
“We have 155 dealers in the U.S. and 20 in Canada for a total of 175,” Bigland added after a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show where he unveiled two new Alfas, the Giulia, a new mid-sized sedan, and Stelvio, a midsized sport utility vehicle named for the one highest passes through the Alps.
The Giulia, which will hit dealers later this year, and the Stelvio will join the 4C to help with the expected growth for the brand.
(Alfa Romeo gets into SUV game with new Stelvio. Click Here for the story.)
“We will grow that to 200 to 250 over the next 12 to 18 months to 200,” said Bigland, who declined to offer any sales projections except to say that the ambitious target laid out by Sergio Marchionne in 2014 was still within reach.
“I’m not going to get in volume,” he said. “My goal is to sell as many as we can. But with Alfa Romeo were not out to win any sales crowns. The same with Maserati. We need to bring the products to market and make sure the product is right.”
Bigland, however, said the marketing campaign designed to re-acquaint Americans with the Alfa Romeo brand will used in a variety of different media. “Alfa has been out of the American market for all intents and purposes for 20 years.”
(Alfa Romeo set to debut new SUV at Los Angeles Auto Show. Click Here for details.)
Bigland also said in many cases the new Alfa Romeo dealers will be paired with Maserati franchises.
Bigland said the response to the new products has been excellent. “The buzz is starting to spread,” he said. “But his is a new European brand we’re in the case of Alfa Romeo we need to get our marketing spooled up.”
The Stelvio, the new SUV, which will compete with utility vehicles from Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, is expected to become Alfa Romeo best-selling product in the United States, Bigland added.
(To see more about SUVs outshining EVs at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Click Here.)
Bigland declined to say if Alfa Romeo would launch another SUV on the heels of the Stelvio. However, he said Alfa expects to have eight different models on the road by 2020. In addition, the expanded Alfa Romeo product portfolio is expected to include three different utility vehicles, a sport wagon built off the Giulia platform and new full-sized sedan, according to IHS Automotive.