Alfa Romeo says it’s in Australia for the long haul, as it gears up to welcome its first electric car to the family.
With consistently low sales volumes, a two-model range, and strong competition from lower-volume luxury brands like Genesis and Jaguar, the brand earlier this year told dealers it’s here to stay.
“When we went to our virtual dealer meeting back in April this year, we were able to give feedback with confidence to them that Alfa is here to remain in Australia,” Andre Scott, head of product and marketing, told Australian media.
Globally, Mr Scott pointed to the fact Alfa Romeo boss Jean-Phillipe Imparato has “committed to the right-hand drive market” as evidence Australia won’t be cut out of the global Alfa family.
It’s just 46 sales ahead of Genesis, and sits 399 sales behind Jaguar on the charts.
Australia isn’t kind to low-volume mainstream brands, with Opel and Infiniti both launching and dying Down Under since 2010. Of course, neither had the enthusiast love Alfa Romeo enjoys.
“It is on the roadmap for us,” Mr Scott said. “It’s clearly the beginning of our electric future.”
“That is the line in the sand from a product development perspective that says once Tonale hits, Alfa Romeo is electric.”
Timing for Australia, along with what sort of specification the Tonale will feature, haven’t been locked in.
Production of the Tonale will reportedly start in March 2022, around three months later than initially planned.
More information about the next wave of Alfa Romeo products will be revealed in the coming months, when it unveils its long-term roadmap under new Stellantis management.
We know whatever is to come will be heavily electrified, as Stellantis management given the brand (among others) a decade to reinvent themselves.
Alfa Romeo “will move to the electrification world but [will be] doing that in a dynamic way”, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has previously said.
Previous reports about the brand’s future have signalled the end of the Giorgio platform currently underpinning the Stelvio and Giulia, as it instead moves to shared Stellantis platforms.
Initial plans from then-CEO Sergio Marchionne said Giorgio would serve as the basis for eight models to disrupt the German luxury car stalwarts, and grow sales from around 70,000 per year to 400,000 annually from 2018.
In the end Fiat Chrysler was only able to bring the Giulia and Stelvio to market, and its lofty sales goals were never reached.