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According to an article I skimmed, Jaguar are hurting too ...

Pete
 

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This dealership question is not just about raw numbers, where they are and how they present is just as critical. There was another thread about our local dealership closing recently, but I’ll reiterate that within 5 miles of here we have what claim to be the country’s largest Mercedes and the country’s largest BMW dealer. We have Ferrari, Maserati, hell we even have a Pagani shop. The local Land Rover / Jag dealer is undergoing a complete rebuild - and Aston has a fancy new showroom on PCH with 20+ new cars always sitting outside.

The nearest Alfa dealer? 20 miles away. Now you may say that’s not much, and personally I agree. But most people operate in a 5 mile or so radius from their home or work.

If FCA was really investing in the brand they’d forget the large billboards at the LA Auto show and put small, quality shops into middle to high income areas and work the places hard. Local matters, the right local matters even more. Maybe Alfa is not targeted at the real high end market but it seems to me that Alfa buyers still want to feel special, not an afterthought.
 

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The Corvette is getting rid of the manual transmission? I actually like the current Corvette (granted, I've not driven it). I have a GTI now (manual of course) and I"m getting an itch to get something new and was thinking Fiat 124 Spider. But that car isn't very usable in the winter being a convertible. Maybe one of the 2019 base model Corvettes with a stick shift will go on the list.*

*Corvette is probably a poorer choice for winter, but who cares, it's a Vette!
 

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In my town Alfa is handled by the Ferrari/Maserati dealer which makes quite a lot of sense. The Alfa Romeo brand has historically occupied the upper end of the market occupied by any volume manufacturer and until the FIAT Group takeover offered more advanced product at higher prices than the big volume makers. Up to the 1980's this remained the case: an Alfa was a much more sophisticated upmarket product than a Ford. Consequently, they were higher priced. When Alfa tried to go down market even slightly they suffered.

Marchionne understood this. The Alfa brand predates the Ferrari and Maserati road car brands. Pre WW II Alfa had no product for the market it now sells into. Even after that war Alfa refused to descend into the volume market for cheap cars. The grinding of its margins meant many current Alfa aficionados were able to buy relatively sophisticated cars for not much more money than ordinary cars. The end result was financial ruin for Alfa.

To stay profitable Alfa must avoid the high volume low margin market segment and concentrate on its historical market segment. The Giulia is such a car as is the Stelvio in that bizarrely popular segment. If you want a car that stands out both technically and as an aesthetic joy then an Alfa is one of a very few affordable choices for you.

Remember that Porsche survived and returned to profitability only by first building a "cheap" sportscar, still expensive but much cheaper than their 911, followed by insanely popular SUVs. Porsche sells much more than half its total product line as SUV's and big sedans.

Maserati can occupy the segment above Alfa for much the same reaseon although for anyone who really knows Maserati's history this is just plain wrong. Maserati built racing cars and only very grudgingly put those racing engines into road cars. Ferrari deliberately traded on its racing brand name by building road cars to support that racing program. There became very tenuous connection between the racing engines and the road car engines. Maserati made zero effort to do the same. If you wanted a road going Maserati you bought a barely detuned racer. They went broke using that business model.

The magic of the Giulia, making it unique in its market imho, is you really can take your road car to the track, beat on it hard, and then drive your wife out to dinner after a cool down lap (for the car, not your wife, although if you're lucky enough you might get both).
 

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@Michael Smith is right. Alfa's were known as a "rich man's car" in Italy until the 1980's. The original Giulia usually sold for about 1.500.000 Lire or more (at a time when most Italians barely made 1.000.000 in a year!), and were definitely more upmarket than Fiat (but on about the same level as Lancia, back in the day). Unfortunately, they weren't terribly profitable for long and, let's remember, were supported by IRI (read: the Italian government) until 1987 when Fiat bought them. This did allow them to make great cars that didn't compromise on engineering (e.g. Alfetta), but also led to disasters (e.g. the Alfasud and the Pomigliano d'Arco factory with poorly trained workers; buying Soviet steel which then rusted..). And, their margins were tight. A car like the original Alfetta probably should have cost 30% more in order to make money for Alfa, but then it would have sold much less than it did.
 

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The Wife and I are in the market for a Giulia/Stelvio, and although the closest Alfa dealer is 100 miles away, they have been great to work with, they just have a small inventory. They are an Alfa/Maserati dealer. We went to a big Alfa dealer about 200 miles away and had a really poor experience, bait and switch and that sort of thing, and they were an Alfa/Fiat/Jeep dealer.

A big part of it might just be price point, the good dealer has been selling used Giulia in a matter of days vs. the new ones sitting on his lot for a while (months). I looked at a used Lusso there and loved it, but much like a Milano, I need one without a sunroof, but he had it sold a few days later, he sent me a picture of a used black one he had on the way, just not the right color, but that also sold in a few days.

You can't have used ones without selling new ones first, but used Giulias seemed to be a good deal and people are noticing.
 

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The Corvette is getting rid of the manual transmission? I actually like the current Corvette (granted, I've not driven it). I have a GTI now (manual of course) and I"m getting an itch to get something new and was thinking Fiat 124 Spider. But that car isn't very usable in the winter being a convertible. Maybe one of the 2019 base model Corvettes with a stick shift will go on the list.*

*Corvette is probably a poorer choice for winter, but who cares, it's a Vette!
Off-topic, but yes, you'll be able to pick up a c7 for a song. The local dealer is listing $10-12k off all models, so I expect you could get that even higher, maybe $15k? That's a lot of car for mid $40's (or mid $50's for a Z51, which is a must-have option in my mind). They all come with a removable hardtop that fits in the trunk, so you get the convertible experience without the headaches. I love my ZR-1 for that reason--sunshine when you want it, normal car when you don't.
 

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Bro in law in El Paso (where they just had a mass shooting at a local mall, with fatalities, 20, sigh, I will not make a comment) had earlier this year bought one of the 750 hp Vettes, complete with the spacy looking wing on the back, etc. Fortunately he does know how to drive it, as he has won SCCA autocrossing regional championships in his previous Vettes. Alas, he is now coming down with Parkinson's, so he had to buy an automatic tranny for the first time. Doesn't think he can properly use the manual anymore. I'm sure it will be his last. He also has a DD Chevy (Holden) SS, also with automatic. His wife gets the upscale Malibu, lol.
 

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STOP IT - sierra tango foxrot uniform

I do wonder if the sales have slumped because of the ridiculous automatic only thing. You're not an Alfisti/a if you accept that, and yeah I know they are hell bent on dropping the old faithful buyers and creating a new market ... but the easiest way to do that would have been to close the doors and just sell Toyotas.


Even my uncle who is into Holden and HSV only bought an automatic ute because they are not making any more and it was only one he could purchase, and he wanted the last ever v8 ute. Personally I'd have kept the previous manual one ...
Pete
Good grief. I loved my LS auto. And yes I am an Alfa guy.
 

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I've been a almost lifelong Alfa fan, but I could live with an automatic. Rather not, since I always have more fun shifting our cars, but what the heck.
 

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yeah im tired of all this holier than thou Bravo Sierra. Come drive in San Diego with a daily driver on the freeway and then spout this nonsense.
 

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Can't be any worse than the continual stop and go on Seattle's few highways/arterials. In fact, Seattle is worse, IMO, having driven both recently.

The hassle of driving with an manual in stop and go traffic has been offset in my driving by the fun I can have when not on those particular roads. It's a trade off to be sure. Everyone desires a different level of ease and comfort. Nothing holier than thou involved, just a different preference, perhaps biased by the admittedly lousy lower market automatic equipped rentals we have always had to have, what we could afford, on our trips. The new Giulia we test drove did go like stink with the automatic, and admittedly would make stop and go driving simpler, less involved. Just put it into D and step on the gas when needed.

And, certainly, the mix of DD stop and go and other road driving I did certainly didn't wear the clutch out quickly, it lasting 189k miles in the 91S DD. Oh, and my left leg still works well, lol, the clutch pedal force not being nearly as heavy as the older American cars we all used to drive and hate.

As I mentioned previously, that red Giulia Quad I saw parked next to my 91S recently, and talking with the driver, sure did look interesting. And a blast to drive I'm sure.

As for sales of the Giulia and Stelvio in the US at least, it certainly doesn't help that CU still rates them as predicted pretty darn unreliable, based on their own prejudiced opinions.
 

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Alfa has made the best car since the 101/105s in the 1950s and 1960s. That's relative to what's out there in the price bracket.
When I went to look at the new Giulia when they arrived in Vancouver, my first impression is that the car is bigger than it need be.
The Alfetta Sports Sedan that I ran for some 18 years was, for me, the right size.
There are some good-performing Mazda 3s.
But front wheel drive.
Then recently heard that there is a Mazda 3 with all wheel drive.
Looked at the specs and the new one has grown to almost as big as the new Giulia.
My Daily Driver is a BMW Touring Wagon 535xi, that with the Dinan stage 2 puts out 375 HP and 415 torque.
Goes nicely.
But it IS big.

????
 

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I agree with you Subtle, the new Guilia is plus sized to me too.

And others, I did say I'd accept an automatic if I bought a Stelvio.

Btw I solve the traffic issue by buying a go to work and back hack. Alfas are saved for the w/e.
Pete
 

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Thumbs up for that excellent page 1 analysis by onethumb, and the always erudite Michael Smith's page 2 input.

I'll add that re the Forbes article, a budget econo car's fortunes are irrelevant to Alfa's fortunes, whether a Lancia or a Kia or whatever. As others have noted, all premium sedans have seen a decline in sales this last year. Alfa's decline is exacerbated by the lack of model variety, poor dealer network, and some bad press (despite many many marvelous reviews over the last three years, the knuckle-dragging anti-Alfa crowd returns to the J-nik hit piece and now the C&D piece on the 40K QV. Regular people without great critical skills who might have chosen Alfa as an alternative to a BMW sedan or Audi SUV get scared away. As well, appliance-loving CR hangs on to their unsubstantiated anti-Italian car bias). On top of all this, Alfa hasn't updated either the Giulia or Stelvio while their competition has been updated in the last year or two, leaving Alfa even further behind regarding infotainment tech, which is a real handicap in the U.S. market where a minority of drivers prioritize dynamics.

So we'll know better where Alfa is going when they've introduced the production Tonale and updated the Giulia and Stelvio (not that I need my Giulia Ti updated). The promised GTV won't hurt either.

Re the manual question, though the lack has certainly sacrificed some sales I can't believe it really matters when I see every third car on the road either being either a BMW or Audi with the overwhelming majority of those being autos. Alfa needs to acquire more of those drivers but it's currently handicapped by the factors I offered above. I'm sure (hope certainly) that the people running the business see this as a long-term proposition and we'll see how the Tonale and more might help Alfa's position in the market. As others remarked, there were times in Jaguar's and Porsche's history where they were in a worse position than Alfa and they are doing well-enough (Porsche more than well-enough obviously).

Anyway, it would be a real tragedy if Alfa doesn't make it as the 952 platform is so fantastic. My 2.0 Giulia Ti/Performance really does feel and drive like a 4-door version of the '07 Cayman S I once had; I can only imagine how great is the Quadrifoglio.

p.s. Re dealers, my Alfa dealer is also Maserati, and shares owners with the Porsche dealer across the street. I also used the local Fiat/Alfa dealer when I had a 500e for a while. While the Fiat/Alfa/Dodge service dept was fine it doesn't compare at all to the red carpet treatment I get from the Alfa/Maserati dealer.
 

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I drive one, long time alfa guy. Just sold my 164S of 22 years. Do I miss driving a stick? Sure but it's not the end of the world, especially in traffic. I drive in manual mode in my giulia. SUPER fun car to drive! This car is amazing. I am very happy with my 17 Giulia ti Q4. The technology is low which is good as well. No apple play no distractions. Don't care anymore about a manual gearbox either. My only gripe is the sound. That's what they need to work on, tuning it to sound better.
 

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My only gripes about the new Giulia are that it's a bigger car than I need and, yes, I wish it sounded better. As far as the gearbox, I love a classic manual but the versatility of the best automatics and dual clutch boxes is amazing. Once you live with one for a while it's a new world.

My Golf R has the DSG with full manual mode and 280 some horsepower, all wheel drive, a very high level of refinement, and for me it's the perfect size. The missing ingredient is passion, it's a Teutonic masterpiece but it's dull. If only Alfa made a Golf R.......

I shopped the Giulia at the same time as I was looking at VW and Audi and it was the size of the Alfa that finally steered me to the VW. A few months after I bought the Golf R my wife wanted a new car. I showed her the Giulia but right of the bat she said "it's too big" and ended up with a new GTI.

Now, a year or so down the road I do wish I'd bought the Giulia despite it being kind of big.
 

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I used to have an E46 BMW and it was the perfect size (and, btw, a wonderful car). The new 3 series has grown just like every other model it competes with. The new C class is old E class size. The A4 is enormous. The Giulia is simply keeping up. Customers are going to cross shop these models and, unfortunately, the public wants enormous cars it seems.
 

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I've driven only Alfa 164's since I bought my new 164B Originale in 1991. Sold it in 2010. Down to two 91's now BB1 164L AT w/S engine (in VA) and BB2 164S (in FL). I am getting to old to buy a new Alfa. I have driven the Giulia and Stelvio. However, my DD now is a 04 Jeep Grand Cherokee (JGC) Overland Quadratrac 4.7L HO V-8 w/265 HP.

BB1 just caught on fire June 29, My Ins Co totaled it but trying to bring it back. Had it running but now won't start. The 15yo Jeep developing issues (just had water pump go out) Changed pump and R/R window regulator last week.

Day before water pump went on 04 , we bought us a Enterprise Car Sales FCA 2017 JGC Limited RWD 395HP 3.6L V-6 w/8-speed paddle shift AT. Wife loves the new to us Jeep. Closest at my age (79) to a Stelvio I am going to get.

Hope Alfa makes it. I have been driving Fiats, Lancias and Alfas since 1980 but my reality world now is my bride of 28 years will out live me (much younger women) and she loves the new to her JGC.

Yes, the 17 Jeep bigger somewhat than 04 JGC and Stelvio but we are bigger, too The widening of America has caught up with us old folks.

Drive'em if you got them and can fit in them.
 
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