Speaking exclusively with CarAdvice at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show yesterday, the CEO of Maserati/Alfa Romeo, Harald Wester, said the big chance for Alfa Romeo will be in providing a valid alternative for those that are looking for something different to the mainstream German offerings in the premium segment.
“If you are driving [a German car] for five or ten years, there is a… potentially, like in a marriage today, statistically globally you have somewhat between 40-50 per-cent divorces. The decision to change if there’s a real alternative - the brand of the car - is much higher.” Wester told CarAdvice.
Alfa Romeo plans to introduce eight new models by 2018, with the 4C, Giulia and its upcoming and yet to be named SUV to be amongst the first. These products, Wester says, will bring back and respect the traditional DNA of Alfa Romeo.
“What we really try to stress, is not to do cold and technocratic products, we want to be even or better in terms of content, performance and everything. We want to give the car enthusiasts a portion of emotions back that are hard to find today.”
The new ultra-performance version of the Italian brand’s 3 Series competitor, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, should be priced in the $140-150,000 mark when it lands in Australia towards the end of 2016. That puts it at equivalent pricing to the well-established BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 S sedan.
When asked if Alfa Romeo is taking a risk by asking similar prices to its established competitors, Wester said buyers will judge the car on its merit and value.
“No, no. I think product wise in terms of what it offers, in terms of performance and in terms of content, it will be equal or above… People that are spending that much money in the premium segment, if there’s a viable and good looking and promising alternative, why shouldn’t you go there?”
Alfa Romeo’s contention in the four biggest premium segments will be finalised by 2018 once all eight new models are unveiled, with Alfa Romeo aiming for global sales of 400,000 by the end of its first phase of product releases.
“The segments we will tackle will be the fourth biggest in the global premium market, accounting for two thirds of 2014 global volumes of eight million," Wester said.
"Two thirds of eight million is 5.4 million and if you reconnect this to [our target of] 400,000, we only need to convince seven or eight out of 100 customers to change [from the Germans]."
According to Wester, the response to Giulia Quadrifoglio since its unveiling at the brand’s 105th anniversary has been “very, very positive.”