Alfa Romeo Set to Debut New SUV in Los Angeles

FCA continues growth of Italian brand.

by on Oct.13, 2016

Alfa Romeo's Harald Wester unveils the new Giulia models at the Geneva Motor Show. The brand's SUV is set to debut in Los Angeles.

Just a month after the long-delayed Giulia finally hit U.S. showrooms, Alfa Romeo appears ready to unveil a new SUV to join the Italian brand’s sedan.

The Fiat Chrysler brand plans to debut the small sport-ute at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, reports the Detroit News. The automaker confirmed its arrival, it declined to provide any details about the new vehicle.

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FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne has talked for some time about a new ute for Alfa called the Stelvio. Currently, the Stelvio is in the midst of testing in Europe, but the maker hasn’t uttered much about its arrival in the states.

However, those shakedown maneuvers have been caught in the public and several media outlets have provided some insights into what the Stelvio may look like.

First and foremost, the front of the ute borrows from its sedan sibling, the Giulia, with two oval-shaped inlets on the side as well as Alfa’s well-known rounded-triangle grille. The headlights also borrow from the Giulia: they’re essentially slits.

According to reports, the production version is rounder than earlier prototypes, and the rear also features two small tailpipes and the taillights are very similar to those on the Giulia. While the arrival of the SUV in the U.S. hasn’t exactly been hyped, it isn’t a complete surprise.

(Forget sports cars, SUVs set to dominate super-premium luxury market. Click Here for the story.)

Marchionne laid out a $6.5 billion investment plan for Alfa Romeo a while back. It called for Alfa to introduce eight new vehicles by 2018 and increase sales to 400,000 vehicles globally, including 150,000 in the U.S. However, Fiat Chrysler earlier this year extended that plan until at least 2020.

Additionally, the growth of the luxury sport-utility market is too much for Fiat Chrysler to ignore. Automakers have been rolling out luxury utes as fast they can be bought. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Lincoln and virtually every other mainstream brand has a new ute.

However, that trend has moved into the high performance segment as well. Aston Martin and Lamborghini launch two of their most critical models ever, both in 2019, the focus of the two brands will shift to sport-utility vehicles.

(Click Here for details about the CR-V becoming Honda’s best seller.)

If all goes according to plan, those two models, the Aston Martin DBX and the production version of the Lamborghini Urus concept, will generate at least 50% or more of their sales. But that’s far from precedent setting. Best known for sports cars like the 911 and the Boxster, it’s the Cayenne and Macan SUVs that already generate the biggest sales numbers for Porsche.

Super-premium utility vehicles are “going to be the hottest segment in the luxury market,” said Simon Sproule, the chief marketing officer for Aston. “As with the mainstream market, that’s what people want to drive.”

With the exception of Land Rover, a dedicated SUV manufacturer, Lincoln was the first luxury brand to test the waters for a high-line utility vehicle, the Navigator. Cadillac quickly followed with its Escalade. But it was Porsche that truly defied typecasting – and which pushed the concept into new territory with the Cayenne, a model that can run well into six figures in its highest-performance, most well-equipped versions.

(To see more about the tough test coming for carmakers, Click Here.)

Now, the movement is even more up-market, as some – make that most — of the world’s most exclusive premium luxury brands add utility vehicles to their line-ups. Bentley recently rolled onto the market with its big Bentayga, and it is expected to quickly become the maker’s best-selling model generating close to 10,000 sales annually.

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One Response to “Alfa Romeo Set to Debut New SUV in Los Angeles”

  1. Bryan Morris says:

    Where are these Giulias allegedly hitting the showrooms? The nearest Alfa dealer to me in Tacoma says they haven’t been released yet (as of last week) and Alfa’s US website has no pricing info on them. I bought a 4C coupe a couple of months ago and it’s missing its kin.

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