In an interview on the sidelines of the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show, Alfa Romeo North America director Pieter Hogeveen told us that compact vehicles like the Giulietta don’t make much sense in the U.S. as they account for a very small portion of volume in the premium segment and the profit margins are too low. For these reasons, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see the Giulietta nameplate in North American Alfa showrooms.
“Well if you take a look at where the industry’s going in the U.S., the premium industry is about two million units a year,” Hogeveen said. “Where you see the growth is in larger vehicles, not in the smaller sized vehicles. We want to make sure we compete in segments where the volume growth opportunity is, but we also want to deliver on the attributes people have to expect from an Alfa Romeo. So at this time, Giulietta doesn’t fit into our plan.”
“You take a look at Stelvio and Giulia, they compete in segments that make up 50 percent of the premiuim market,” he added. “So that’s where our focus is. That’s where people are shopping and buying vehicles so that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
The future of the Giulietta nameplate appears to be hanging in the midst. The current version of the hatchback has been around since 2010 and has become one of the more out-of-date offerings in Europe’s C-segment. An all-new Giulietta may adopt the rear-wheel drive Giorgio platform currently employed in the Giulia and Stelvio, but Alfa says a strong business case for such a vehicle would first have to be made.
The Giorgio platform was designed from the ground-up to underpin C-, D- and E-segment cars and SUVs, so utilizing it in the Giulietta going forward would be technically feasible. However Giorgio program manage Phillipe Kreif said late last year that Alfa was still trying to gauge whether or not there is much demand for a rear-wheel drive C-segment hatch.
“It’s not a technical (issue) but what the market can recognize as the point of differentiation and whether there is demand for (rear-wheel drive),” Kreif told Australia’s Drive.com.au in May. “Maybe there is another way we can do it. It is more a question of customers and what they are willing to pay for.”