In Alfa Romeo vs. Hyundai, newcomer may have the edge
Detroit Free Press
November 7, 2015
Quick, which luxury brand will reach 400,000 annual sales first: Hyundai’s new Genesis brand or Fiat Chrysler’s reboot of Alfa Romeo? If global projections aren’t your bag, which brand will sell 50,000 in the United States first?
My money’s on the brand that hasn’t sold a car yet, the one that has no history of dealing with luxury customers...
...Hyundai’s plan to build a luxury brand on the back of the Genesis sport sedan is ambitious, but at least the Genesis exists. That's more than you can say for the pack of upcoming vehicles Alfa is counting on. The original Genesis sedan was 2009 North American Car of the Year. The second generation Genesis which went on sale a year ago was a breakthrough: competitive with cars like the Audi A6 and Lexus GS...
...Hyundai dealers must learn how to satisfy luxury buyers, but at least Hyundai has dealers in every major market in the United States and Europe.
The first cars from the Genesis luxury brand may not be great, but you can rest assured they’ll get built and it’ll be easy to find a dealer for sales or service.
Contrast that with the questions facing Alfa Romeo:
• Alfa has already backed away from its promise to deliver eight new vehicles by 2018. That may have slipped to 2020, according to European reports, and FCA’s history of delaying new vehicles suggests you shouldn’t bet the farm on that timetable.
• Alfa has virtually no sales network in the United States, and not much of one in Europe.
• Alfa has no experience building modern rear-wheel-drive sport sedans and all-wheel-drive SUVs, the vehicles of which its plan hinges.
Hyundai has evidence on its side. Alfa Romeo has hope...
...while I hope Alfa Romeo succeeds, I expect Genesis to be the start of something big.