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Can Alfa Romeo be saved?

Discussion in 'Mopar News' started by Beentherebefore, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    So ESS is not really implicated, just alleged...

    I remember hearing that in the 1970s, too.

    FWIW, I remember driving with carburetors... much more likely to stall!

    You mean, create halo limited-production car, create halo mass-production car, create normal car (crossover), change all plans?
     
  2. aldo90731

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    Indeed, alleged. Just like the JL vague steering issue is alleged to be caused by the steering damper, the track bar or the steering box software, depending on what dealer you go to and what day of the week it is.

    Per Audi - Plans didn’t really change. By the time Audi got into CUVs the brand had already been well established around A8/A6, with A4 providing the volume. Adding CUVs was simply following where the market was going.

    Personally, I don’t believe that building a supercar casts a “halo” over the brand. I still have to see any data showing that Viper, Corvette, GT, GT-R, LF-A, NSX or 4C did anything for Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Lexus, Acura or Alfa Romeo. Nevertheless, many people in the industry believe they do. Clearly Audi executives thought it too, so they went ahead, built R10, won LeMans, and turned Audi into a dream brand with high-school kids.
     
  3. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Yeah, just ask the early model Spitfire and Hurricane pilots in WWII, their carburetors would flood the supercharger in certain maneuvers and shut down their engines. Under normal circumstances that’s bad...in a dog fight it was even worse.

    Your dose of useless trivia for the day! :D
     
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  4. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    They eventually developed a "floatless" carburetor to alleviate that issue. The ME-109's with fuel injection could just nose over and dive. A chasing Spitfire had to roll over and then dive. The Luftwaffe pilots were surprised when the Spitfires were able to just nose over and chase after them. In truth the ME-109 and Spitfire were just about equal. The ME-109 was a touch faster, but the Spitfire could out turn the ME-109.
     
  5. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Interesting and funny side note - Adolf Galland (General of all fighters in the Luftwaffe at the time) was asked by Goring what he wanted (Goring was not happy with the Luftwaffe). Galland replied, "A squadron of Spitfires." Goring was not amused. What Galland meant was he wanted the ME-109 to handle as well as the Spitfire, but it didn't come out that way.
     
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  6. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Yup, Miss Shilling’s orifice (R.A.E Restrictor)...or Tilly’s orifice/diaphragm. Interesting names....:p
     
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  7. Chase300

    Chase300 Well-Known Member

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    Audi was also building the best overall cars too...especially interior design. I think that's is what got people to notice them and buy them over BMW/Mercedes. Now Mercedes seems to be leading interior design IMO. BMW interiors starting to look stale.
     
  8. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Didn't you just give evidence that contradicted your statement?

    I am pretty sure the original Viper helped Dodge quite a bit. Street cred and all that. As time went on it lost its original function, but as long as it made money, it made sense. The 4C, I think, was too far from anyone's reality to work. Ford GT as well, and Acura NSX, and Lexus LF-A... I'll agree with you on those.

    The halo car has to be something that's not TOO far away from everything else. The Viper may have been about as far as you get from Dodges of 1992 (which to be fair included the Turbo III cars), but it wasn't that far from Dodges of 1971, which people still remembered; and when it tore up Le Mans, long before the Corvette, in mostly-stock form, it was a major statement about Dodge and Chrysler. But then they had to do real cars, too, which fit the same mold. At the time, the Neon counted in its class; it outperformed everything, by far. Ditto the Intrepid, in its class (a very small class, and we have to exclude the oddly more powerful Chrysler and Eagle versions). But really, the time was then for Chrysler to return to V8 (or at least high-power V6, remember they developed a 3.3 turbo in almost no time and at almost no cost, but it was turned down) RWD cars! Eaton was too cheep but it was very, very possible.

    Today the halo car is the Challenger SRT, and I think it does a fine job.

    Plymouth's halo car, the Prowler, would have done a fine job, too, if the PT had come out with the right branding.
     
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  9. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    I'm going to disagree on that, and also point out that just as sales dissolved with the sudden-acceleration thing, they rose in the US not when Audi came out with new cars, but when they were in 50 Shades of Gray. Just like Bronco sales rose when OJ drove one in his slow motion chase. The writer of the Gray books incidentally had never been in an Audi but praised them relentlessly, so the image they worked for was indeed responsible, indirectly, for their later sales leadership. (THey aren't #1 but they also don't drop ruthless incentives.)
     
  10. aldo90731

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    I said Audi believed it needed a halo car, so it went ahead and developed it, built it, and even won LeMans with it —i.e., set out a strategy, executed it, and stuck with it.

    We studied “halo” vehicles for years and didn't find any evidence that they work. The problem is less about how close or far they are from the brand, and more about relevance. The limitation of supercars is that they speak to only 0.1% of the market. As such, there’s little they can do for the other 17 million looking to buy a practical, safe, reliable means of transportation.

    What we found is evidence of defining vehicles. A brand’s defining vehicle is whichever model it sells most in a given market. For instance, Camry became Toyota’s defining model in the US for decades. The fact that Camry sold in this market’s largest vehicle segment catapulted Toyota to become a top tier brand in the US. Same thing with Accord for Honda. The fact that Toyota has now successfully positioned RAV4 as a top Compact CUV when that segment has taken over as the largest in the market promises to do for Toyota what Camry did before.

    In luxury, the defining vehicle is more complex. Luxury brands need both relevance (i.e., sufficient volume) and aspiration (for premium price justification) in equal measure. In the past, the defining vehicle in luxury was the flagship sedan like S-Class, 7-Series, LS400, Legend, etc. These sedans offered both relevance and aspiration in equal measure. However, with the migration from cars to CUVs, it is not yet clear if the premium CUV is the defining vehicle of luxury. While CUVs are bringing volume to luxury automakers, there’s little evidence that they are bringing aspiration. This is the reason we see enthusiasts sigh and complain when they see their favorite luxury automaker announce the introduction of yet another “SUV.”

    The problem is that “SUVs” have traditionally been associated with mundane tasks like hauling kids, carrying groceries, hardly exciting stuff.

    From what we have seen, Porsche has been able to infuse aspiration into its SUVs better than most. It’s been able to do so with a unique combination of attractive styling, superior performance, comfort and quality, and the brand has been rewarded with sustained sales growth. By contrast, BMW, Lexus, Audi, Acura, Infiniti and even Mercedes “SUVs” are for the most part seen as more generic and less differentiated appliances.

    IMO, Alfa Romeo was going in the right direction with Stelvio by giving it attractive styling and superior performance. Unfortunately, the effort appears to have been insufficient for the relaunched brand to stand above the competition.
     
  11. aldo90731

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    PS - consumers’ perception of R10 showed closer movement with the rest of the Audi lineup, particularly relative to competitors’ supercars. We attributed this closeness to Audi’s styling, including R10, which was more cohesive across models, helping consumers associate R10 with the brand and vice-versa. Nevertheless, our recommendation at the time would have been to spend that money instead developing a super A8 that could beat S-Class more convincingly. A super sedan would have netted Audi greater brand-building results.
     
  12. Tony K

    Tony K Active Member

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    Who is is this "Goring" guy? :D Are you referring to Hermann Göring (Goering )?

    Teaching point: German "ö" is written out "oe" when employing non-German keyboards because

    1. that's a different letter in German that gets a different pronunciation (refered to in linguistics as an i-mutation, and umlaut - sound change - in German), and

    2. it began as a typesetting shortcut FOR that "oe" (ae/oe/ue) that refers to the sound shift.

    To give a few examples of its implementation in English, it's the same i-mutation in "mouse" and "mice" or "foot" and "feet" in English. In German, "foot" is "Fuß" (Fuss) and "feet" is "Füßen" (Fuessen).
     
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  13. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Aldo, what you say seems pretty valid and of course you have evidence for it. I think the Viper was an exception because people had decided that Dodge only made slow old-guy cars (unless they put the Shelby name on them, in which case they were seen as Shelby cars. Never mind the Daytona R/T and such!) - it was needed to bust out of their box. But it would have meant nothing on its own, and wasn't expensive.

    It's been pretty clear that Toyota's halo cars (Supra and such) have done nothing for Toyota. The Prowler didn't really help Plymouth as far as I can tell, though it probably would have, again, if the PT and Voyager had followed it...

    Certainly making a better “regular car” helps more than halo cars! The Camry, in its early years, was clearly a better deal than most American competitors, once Americans came to like gas mileage and realized they didn't need extra-long hoods and decks (without any more leg room) or, in most cases, room for three people to sit across. (The Cressida was also quite nice but not an easy sell before 1974.)

    As I read it, you're saying that Alfa Romeo would be more successful if they'd put in more testing (to avoid those early quality gaffes that confirmed everyone's opinion of Italian cars), put a bit more money into the Giulia and Stelvio (maybe doing Stelvio first since that's the bigger segment), and then kept following them up rather than assigning the next ones to Maserati?

    PS> It worries me that they are moving cars to Maserati, because that means either they are totally redoing the tuning (which I'd hope!) or they are going to screw up Maserati. They had, IMHO, a good differentiation between Alfa and Maserati. Blindfolded, you'd know which you were driving (before you crashed).

    PPS> Maybe Lancia should have been given more of a try before dropping it all for Alfa? They really didn't do enough to make Lancia work, IMHO. Just shoving real wood and nicer leather onto a Chrysler isn't enough; all it does is push the price too high for 90% of buyers.
     
  14. aldo90731

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    We had Ford, Nissan, Acura and others approach us with questions about their halo car. None of them liked our recommendations; all of them thought their halo car would be the exception that would prove the rule... :) In fairness, it could be argued that those cars helped boost internal morale and rally the fan base, even if they accomplished nothing else.

    Your concern about Alfa Romeo and Maserati encroaching into each other is well founded. It is for this reason that the vision and the course for each brand needs to be set at the start, instead of winging it one vehicle at a time. Trying to build a brand while at the same holding it back for fear of encroaching into a sister brand is a waste of time and money. Sounds like this is precisely what Mr. Tavares is looking to avoid by doing a thorough audit of its brands at the start.

    What I think Alfa Romeo needs at this point is a well-planned launch of high performance variants scheduled at regular intervals, say every 6-9 months. In today’s market a brand is only as relevant as the last time it appeared on the cover of the enthusiast magazines —and nowadays, the latest YouTube review. This is especially true of performance-oriented brands. Of course these variants can’t just be sticker editions; they need to have the chops to generate positive press.

    Given where FCA’s resources are at the moment, Stelvio seems like the obvious place to start. But Giulia shouldn’t be left too far behind. Otherwise the two vehicles start creating dissonance, holding back brand-building efforts. For the brand promise to work, consumers need to be convinced that they can get a real Alfa Romeo whether they buy Stelvio or Giulia, or whatever else Alfa decides to launch. And yes, attention to quality needs to be ever present.

    Aspiration
    brings them into the showroom; quality keeps them coming back.
     
    #174 aldo90731, Jan 17, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  15. Chase300

    Chase300 Well-Known Member

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    There were cars in "50 Shades of Gray"???
    Didn't notice....
     
  16. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Yes, I was referring to Hermann Goering who was the political head of the Luftwaffe.

    Needless to say Galland and Goering did not get along as the war progressed. Galland was eventually demoted to a squadron commander and commanded one of the ME-262 squadrons (JG 7 as I recall). Galland wrote a book titled "The First and the Last" about his war experiences.
     
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  17. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    This is what I love about Allpar...you can literally learn about ANYTHING. :D:p
     
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  18. Ryan

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    The introduction of the 350 horsepower Veloce trim to the Giulia and Stelvio lineups in the US would be a good place to start... There's a huge gap between the 280 horsepower base engine and the 505 horsepower Quadrifoglio. If they marketed it right, it could play a role similar to that of Dodge's Scat Pack trim (or Audi's S- models that function as a mid-level performance option between base trims and the RS- cars).
     
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  19. 77 Monaco Brougham

    77 Monaco Brougham Active Member

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    Think of Allpar as the University of the Internet...the only place where you can learn for free.;)

    And...talk back to the teachers!:p:D
     
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  20. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Allpar U!! We need hats and big foam fingers or something....:p (can we @Dave Z ?? Please? Pretty please? Pretty pretty please??). :D
     

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