For carmakers, China is a very important market thanks to its broad customer base, including luxury goods (Ferrari doubled its sales there in the first half of 2023), but some brands are struggling... in particular Alfa Romeo.
Since the launch of the Giulia and then the Stelvio, the brand has been trying to break into this promising market. To date, it has been unsuccessful. However, if you listen to the brand's latest press release.., the Chinese market is strategic, with an increase of +35% in the first half of 2023 for the Giulia sedan.
In reality, if you look at Alfa Romeo's sales figures on the Chinese market (difficult to obtain...), it's not glorious.
|Alfa Romeo sales China
However, the Italian brand was growing until 2020, the year of the COVID. Since then, sales have plummeted. It has to be said that the brand runs on 2 models only...
But scrolling through the Chinese social network Weibo, here's what stands out about the Alfa Romeo brand as seen from China.
Alfa Romeo is a sporty, elegant Italian car brand. But in China, it is unable to compete with brands such as BMW, Audi or Mercedes, which are well established.
The Giulia, Alfa Romeo's flagship model, is more powerful than its direct competitors: the BMW serie 3, the Mercedes-Benz C and the Audi A4. But it's also smaller and less prestigious. Chinese consumers are looking for spacious, comfortable and imposing cars that reflect their social status.
That's why they prefer longer versions of the cars.like the Audi A7. Alfa Romeo failed to adapt to this demand, even though it had planned to launch LWB (long wheel base) versions of its models, but never did.
In addition to this size problem, Alfa Romeo suffers from a lack of brand awareness, too high a price, insufficient after-sales service and expensive spare parts. Faced with competition from emerging Chinese brands that also know how to make premium cars, popular foreign brands and more accessible premium brands, Alfa Romeo is losing more and more market share.
The most obvious solution would be to lower prices, but would that be enough?
Alfa Romeo emphasizes sportiness to Chinese customers, but this is not a determining factor for most buyers. They don't take their cars to the track every day.
Our new #Shanghai flagship is open! Our 2nd flagship worldwide, the 1st in Asia. It features our new brand identity and displays our core values and vision for the future. Already open as a showroom, the official opening ceremony is in January. Can't wait to see it 100% running! pic.twitter.com/MeTa3uJp9w- Jean-Philippe Imparato (@JPImparato) December 19, 2022
For Alfa Romeo brand director Jean-Philippe Imparato, the Chinese market remains a strategic one. The first new dealership dedicated to the brand opened in Shanghai in December 2022. And, according to the latest statements on site, the future Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia will be more suited to the Chinese market.