11 November 2015

Are Alfa Romeo Volume Predictions Realistic?

The CEO of FCA Sergio Marchionne is keener than most to postulate on future car sales for brands within his car organisation. He predicted that Maserati would reach 50,000 sales by 2015, but it looks like that will be more like 35,000 and 2016 will be the year for the 50k mark to be reached. The Ghibli model's sales haven't held up in 2015 as hoped. New models can do that.

So seeing as Alfa Romeo is also part of the FCA Group, are the projections for this marque measuring up? 400,000 sales by 2018 was the goal but that has now been squashed. The reason given is that China is no longer seen as being able to deliver the volumes expected now the market is plateauing. I'm surprised few auto execs seem to see that coming. Now the new compact Giulia has been put back six months for a European release of mid 2016 and the SUV based on the same platform has been put back nine months to 2017.

The Giulia has great Italian styling

So the targets will be missed. Sure China is slowing and this delay to carry out some tweaks to safety and ride (rather late to be doing that I would have thought) will likewise affect the sales goal adversely. Still, I doubt the 400k figure was remotely possible anyway. In fact many feel 200k would be a good result in such a short time. Alfa is sold in Europe and few go elsewhere. With 2014 production under 70,000, the jump to where Sergio predicted was a huge expectation.

Alfa Romeo is a marque with a fine history. It has been neglected for decades and it would be nice to see it succeed. While Mr Marchionne is a confident man, predictions that fall far short of their target are not a good look. It undermines the impression of control and competence. All car makers will have goals they fall short of. The secret is not to be too open and if you fail, no one knows. That's why few long range claims on numbers emanate from car companies. Too many things can go wrong. In this case FCA predictions seem very unrealistic.


  1. Raycee,

    As much as I like Alfa, Maserati and Marchionne's ballsy attitude, I agree entirely.
    Maserati does not deliver as expected, for the simple reason that the Ghibli is not good enough. It is an appealing car, but it was developed on a relative shoe-string budget and it shows.

    For the resurrection of Alfa and Maserati, increasing their combined sales from 80,000 to 500,000, Marchionne has an investment budget of about 4bn euro over 5 years. That simply is not enough. JLR and Volvo have similar growth objectives, and they commit 15bn and 12bn respectively.

    I really hope that the next Alfas and Maseratis will be great, but I expect the future to repeat history: the cars will be appealing but underdeveloped and as a result will sell 200K (at most) and 80K per year respectively, about half of what Marchionne projected. The woes in the Chinese market may make even that unattainable.

  2. Hello Grunt. Taking dreams into reality is difficult. As you say it is expensive. It also takes patience. Get the product right, market it well and the sales will follow - eventually - once people start to trust in the marque again.