FCA Didn’t Launch the 2016 Giulia Today

Don’t look down Sergio, because the analysts are revolting!

The wait is over. Well, maybe not over exactly... Image via carscoops
Anybody seen my unicorn? Image via carscoops

This afternoon’s reveal of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia will undoubtedly be the day’s big automotive story with the car’s styling and likely chance of success being foremost in commentator’s minds. But it’s worth pointing out this is not an announcement of a production-ready car; more a piece of theatre, aimed at a far more rarefied audience. But don’t take my word for it.

It’s inescapable now that FCA is in trouble. The €48bn Plan announced last year to turn around the former Fiat Group appears to be derailing. Having this year attempted to woo car giants into a super-merger and been rebuffed, Sergio is now attempting to get his way by force. Pivotal to this aim is the support of automotive financial analysts. Firms like IHS Automotive and Bernstein Research have grown massively in recent years. But like the movie columnists of the Hollywood era, their influence now risks outweighing their utility. Nevertheless, nobody appears to have told the be-jumpered one that you antagonise these people at your peril.

Having publicly berated them for failing to support his quest for a merger with General Motors – (a tie up GM have firmly set themselves against) – Marchionne has risked alienating the very people he desperately needs to bolster his hand. Just how far his star is fading is illustrated by Berstein Research’s Max Warburton, doyen of Automotive News’ industry analysis.

He minced few words on the Giulia’s announcement telling ANE yesterday he believes the Giulia’s announcement is aimed more at Global industry leaders than potential Alfa Romeo customers. He suggested the new car would undoubtedly “look great and boast huge power and performance.” But the omerta cracked open when he stated; “we think it is still developed on the cheap, far from production-ready and unlikely to sell in large quantities.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement then.

Warburton is not alone. Other figures within the automotive analytic community have expressed similarly worded misgivings; crucially nobody is prepared to believe Marchionne’s projections for growth. So with today’s announcement monopolising the bandwidth of the self-appointed, where does this leave those who might actually be minded to go out and buy one? No further than they were yesterday, to be honest. Because regardless of what you’ve been told, the Giulia doesn’t really exist and won’t do unless huge amounts of money are found to fund it. Even then, its chances of lasting success remain slim.

A lot can happen in four years, or in Marchionne’s case, despairingly little. Sergio must bitterly regret his haughty dismissal of Ferdinand Piëch’s overtures in 2011, because that tightrope walk’s starting to look awfully precarious.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

20 thoughts on “FCA Didn’t Launch the 2016 Giulia Today”

  1. I do hope you are wrong, but fear you are writing sense. There are a couple of blurry snaps of a red QV in some warehouse doing the rounds this morning pre the launch at 6pm. It looks quite nice from the rear 3/4, somewhat like a pumped KIA Optima, which meant only positively. FCA clearly has a big mountain to climb, but does not look like it’s taking taking the hard yards around reducing capacity and costs, which looks essential.

  2. The XE is by most accounts a competitive car developed at considerable expense with a lot of money and a team who have been working without disruption for decades. The Alfa Romeo team is small and presumably made up of people gathered together for this project from various bits of the Fiat empire. The engines have been developed “for Alfa Romeo” I read. Not developed by Alfa Romeo. I don´t imagine the car will be bad but probably not a game changer.

  3. This latest Alfa relaunch has been a weird one. No teaser shots or cryptic invitations to the big event online. No disguised prototypes appearing at big events like the World Superbike races where Alfa are currently providing the safety cars. No social media hashtag campaign or attempts at viral videos to attract attention. FCA sponsor the Yamaha factory team in MotoGP, currently leading the championship and the bikes have been wearing Fiat Professional or Abarth logos instead of Alfa ones. No concept car at Geneva (was there?) or at the Villa d’Este concours. Nothing connected with the Mille Miglia. No mention of any Alfa events on the FCA Expo Milan website. You couldn’t try harder to avoid free publicity. If this was JLR we’d be royally sick of ‘#getreadyforgiulia’ and mildly disguised prototypes being driven luridly through picturesque Italian landscapes in a series of youtube videos, while a voiceover of Ian Callum offered reassuring yet meaningless creativespeak about beauty and the finer things in life. Has Olivier Francois, chief marketing sizzle generator when Chrysler had no steak to sell, left FCA? It’s all very uneventful. Best case is that at least the museum and archives are finally reopened. If that happens, I heartily recommend visiting before the house of cards finally collapses.

    1. …Ian Callum voiceover, rather than a voiceover of Ian Callum. Although, if there’s little to say about the car, who would you hire to do a voiceover of Ian Callum?

    2. Those are both excellent choices. A profanity-laden Capaldi voiceover written by Armando Iannucci would be a great way to narrate an Alfa Romeo promo video.

    3. I think both should be cast, representing the two contrasting sides of Mr C. One, the seeker after smooth, oak matured elegance with a restrained peaty aftertaste, the other one the man who produced the Mk2 resto-rod.

    4. I’ve just imagined Malcom Tucker explaining why a Mk2 Jaguar needed louvred side vents, quilted leather seats and a big angular centre console but I can’t transcribe it for fear of breaching the site’s standards on offensive language…

  4. So I popped round to Sergio’s for lunch. I took a nice bottle of red, I know he likes that. He kept coming and going in the kitchen. Around 2.00 there was a big clatter and some swearing, but still no food. We were really hungry by then. Come 3.30 and Sergio comes out with a big smile and says ‘just half an hour more’. Guess what? I’d only lost my bloody appetite.

    1. It’s probably better you already lost your appetite, as the promised Bistecca Fiorentina might have turned into a burger he just quickly bought at McDonald’s.

  5. Ok, I was wrong… It looks more as if he’s trying to serve Bavarian Weißwurst with spaghetti.

  6. I think it’ll be more like a sham Italian meal that looks quite nicely presented but won’t taste a lot different than the same ingredients turned into spaghetti Bolognese.
    Is Sam the Eagle on holidays?

  7. There’s a refreshed Alfa Romeo badge too, and they’ve confirmed the museum reopening… next week. But no images of the Giulia interior. I’m wondering what a Giulia Super with toned-down exterior detailing might look like, since I don’t like shouting and they don’t make Lancias for anyone except Italian ladies who like shopping for fashionable things. I think I’d be voting against the Munich Mondeo with a Jaguar XE at this point.

  8. I’ve just re-read this story. Mention of Ferdinand Piech has reminded me that he’s got a bit of spare time at the moment now he’s not commanding the empire in Wolfsburg. Perhaps he can rally some investors or coerce another carmaker to come to Sergio’s rescue with an offer that the woolly-jumper-in-chief can’t refuse?

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