Alfa Romeo has a long road ahead of it in regards to building brand awareness in the United States. Enthusiasts are well aware that Alfa has made a return to the U.S. market, but your typical BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz buyer likely doesn’t know that Alfa has arrived in North America with other luxury carmakers in its crosshairs.
To remedy the problem, Alfa plans on building more dealerships in the U.S., Alfa Romeo North America director Pieter Hogeveen told us on the sidelines of the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show. Hogeveen said marketing campaigns, such as the Giulia ads it aired during Super Bowl 51, will also be a large part of boosting its brand awareness, but dealers will be the more influential factor.
“What’s really important for us is building our dealer network,” said Hogeveen. “Everybody asks ‘what are your biggest challenges?’. We’ve got to build a dealer network and we’ve got to create brand awareness. The super bowl campaign really kicked off the rebirth of Alfa Romeo with the Giulia (ads). We’ve started really building a lot of brand awareness around (the Giulia). We’re continuing to grow our dealer network and make sure we are in the right location, where the competition is located as well.”
Another challenge for Alfa will be properly communicating that it doesn’t just offer an alternative to the competition, but a completely different product. Alfa has been sure to inject its DNA into both the Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover, but without being able to drive the cars, consumers will have no idea that the Alfa may offer a more engaging, visceral driving experience than an Audi, for example. The brand’s solution to this will be ride and drive events, Hogeveen said.
“Without going too into detail on the media strategy, I think we’re having two challenges: we’re building brand awareness for the brand, and we’re building brand awareness for names like Giulia,” he said. “Alfa Romeo is already perceived as a premium brand but now we need to make sure people start seeing us. So what you’ll see is a lot of ride and drive events that we’re doing.”
“It’s really important for us to deliver the opportunity for people to drive the vehicle and experience it themselves,” he added. “I could talk about it all day long, but it won’t be like experiencing it for yourself.”