Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio crossover bears the burden of having to validate Fiat Chrysler’s bold, $5-billion investment into the niche brand to facilitate an expansion of its product lineup and global presence. The Giorgio platform that underpins both it and the Giulia sedan could go on to carry products from FCA’s higher-volume brands like Chrysler and Dodge, as could its new turbocharged, four-cylinder engines.
First, however, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio will have to prove itself in the showroom.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Alfa sold just 73,000 vehicles worldwide in 2016 – far below the 400,000-units-by-2018 it optimistically targeted back in 2014. FCA is counting on North America and China to each account for 30 percent of Alfa Romeo’s sales, reports the Free Press, with Europe claiming the last 40 percent, but sales of the Giulia have so far been slow. The sedan has racked up just 2,483 unit sales this year through May in the United States, and 18,908 units in the year from May, 2016 through April, 2017 in Europe. FCA had predicted global annual sales of the Giulia to be between 75,000 and 100,000 units.
What the Alfa Romeo Stelvio has going for it, of course, is the steady growth seen in the SUV segment over the past decade. Alfa Romeo says it will be able to sell each and every vehicle it can produce at its Cassino, Italy assembly plant, although it won’t disclose its precise production or sales goals.
“We’ll work hard to get our fair share from the plant,” says Alfa Romeo North America Director Pieter Hogeveen. “We are positioning Alfa Romeo as the driver’s alternative” to larger luxury brands from Europe and Asia.