Alfa Romeo has a difficult fight ahead of it as it looks to take a big slice of the luxury automobile sales pie away from rival automakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, but Fiat Chrysler design boss Ralph Gilles thinks the brand is already well on it way to being competitive.
Speaking to Autoblog on the floor of the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Gilles said the Alfa brand has come a long way in a short amount of time. From the outside it may seem as though Alfa’s rebirth has been slow, but the man who helped design its latest products believes it’s actually sped along at an impressive rate.
“I see it as nothing but upside,” Gilles said in Alfa’s rebirth. “Because two years ago, there was no Alfa brand to speak of in the Detroit show. And we’re on our second year here and we have a cadre of products. We have multiple versions of the Giulia. We have the 4C coupe and Spider, and now we have the Stelvio, and it all will be in market by late summer of this year, and the Giulia is in market now, so it’s really exciting to see it really happening.”
Gilles likened Alfa’s rebirth, which began in 2013 with the launch of the 4C sportscar, to that of an aged spirit or alcoholic drink. Even if you’re of the opinion that the brand’s revival in North America has been slow, that’s okay, because like a fine wine – Alfa’s high quality end product isn’t one that be rushed.
“It’s like fine wine in a way, it took some time to get there,” Gilles said. “But you have to do it right, and we have.”
Oh and in case you’re not convinced Gilles is an Alfisti through and through, he copped to kissing the badge of his two Alfa Romeos (a 2017 Giulia QV and 1969 GTV) on the badge every night.
“I drive one every day – I have a Giulia – and I love it,” he said. “I’m literally in love with that car. I kiss the emblem when I get home from work.”