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Mercedes and BMW don’t have the ability to rebadge mainstream models simply because they don’t have a volume brand to pull from. They would if they could.

For its part, Alfa Romeo found out the hard way that much of what it thought was pent up demand turned out to be nostalgia. Nostalgia alone is not enough when the time comes to convince luxury buyers to sign a 3 or 4 year lease, no matter what the auto magazines think.
First, in Germany, at least in Bavaria, BMW has long sold non-luxury level cars, just on the top end of "mainstream" since the E30 and similar era cars took BMW from more of a small producer of luxury and sporty cars to mass market luxury sport oriented brand. When you look at what engines they put in their 3-series sedans - I owned a "lightly used" 1997 316i in 2017 while stationed in Germany, for example, it's apparent that at least in the home market, BMW didn't need a mainstream brand, between the lower powered "stripper" 3s, German vehicle laws that disqualify poorly maintained vehicles from being roaded, and the export market.

As for Alfa, I think there was more demand until Alfa stepped on it hard by not having a solid reintroduction. But no, probably nothing like they forecasted.
 
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US new-vehicle auto sales are out.

Here is an interesting trend: sales of luxury brands have been gaining on non-luxury makes.

Keep in mind these are at the aggregate-brand level; it does not take into account the fact, for instance, that a top-of-the-line Ram 1500, Raptor or Wrangler can cost well over $65,000. My guess is if we were to break sales out by price, this shift would be even more dramatic

Feel free to speculate as to what is driving this shift.
View attachment 73395


These are US new-vehicle sales by make; includes fleet sales.

Ford continues to show the ongoing erosion from the day Mr. Mulally left the building and which cost Mark Fields its job. We see a similar trend in consumer opinion and purchase intentions (i.e., demand), as well as Ford's stock prices.

Toyota sales show a very slight gain, but appear to be widening their lead over Chevrolet. Honda is holding its own despite recent quality issues with airbags, 9-speed automatic transmission and significant declines in durability rankings.

You can see Nissan's precipitous decline. Under Mr. Ghosn, Nissan had been selling well above market demand by about one-third to one-half in excess of demand, according to our estimates. That is a significant amount of sales that need to be adjusted down.

Jeep is FCA's top-selling brand in the US but it looks flat; Ram on the other hand shows sustained growth. Dodge's rate of decline appears to be accelerating, perhaps due to the accelerated shift from car to truck sales.

VW sales show slow but sustained growth. The redesigned Tiguan and all-new Atlas have been home runs. To build on previous successes, there is now a new ID.4 and Atlas Cross Sport.

Overall, Kia appears to be doing slightly better than Hyundai.

Subaru continues to show slow but sustained growth thanks to its renewed focus on Safety and Durability.

Fiat sales are becoming un-measurable.


View attachment 73396
Couple reasons, the luxury manufacturers will often give deals that make their cars attractive to the same "mid pack" buying group, exact same thing happened in 08. I worked for a luxury mfr back then and we posted gains every single month for years. 0% and hefty discounts tend to do that. Buyers unaffected by the downturn, in a buyers market. FCA continually raising their prices - $60,000 Jeep buyer (for example) will typically purchase at Mercedes, Audi or BMW once they realize the deal or value proposition is better. $90,000 hellcat buyer can get himself into an AMG, RS, M car as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
By that standard Alfa succeeded with the Giulia. It met all goals except sales. Some teething problems at first, but that is expected with an all new platform.

2 seat 4 cylinder mid engine sport cars don't sell enough to be a consistent feature in the marketplace. Federalizing the 4C was a complete waste of money.
2 seat 4 cylinder front engine convertibles do slightly better. The car should have been an Alfa with the low boost 200 HP 2.0T running on regular, with a hatchback body option.
Even 4 seat RWD 4 cylinder sport sedans sell poorly. Alfa could have done better if they offered 200 HP and 270 HP 2.0T engines running on regular.
They really would have done well with a Lexus ES competitor, but a FWD car that large should be a Chrysler, not an Alfa.
I wouldn’t know. Giulia doesn’t have a clone like Spider does. All I know is FCA can’t blame disappointing Giulia sales on minuscule demand. Albeit shrinking, demand for luxury 4-door sedans remains quite significant.

FCA tends to go into these launches/relaunches focused solely on the product, hoping that the product appeal will be strong enough to overcome the lack of attention on dealer service, reliability, resale, and all the other peripherals that make up the entire brand experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Good overview of US and Canada pickup sales
 
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On the opening question, I suspect it's Covid magnifying an existing trend in Western countries, and the USA in particular: the higher earners, people who could have afforded to travel abroad, are also people whose jobs are generally able to be done at home; thanks to the various restrictions in 2020 their spending dropped, meaning they have more cash, so instead of a holiday this year, why not get the fancier SUV.

At the other end of the scale, people who have to be in work in person (who as a group generally earn less) have had their incomes badly hit by Covid for the same reasons that the upper earners have had more cash to spend. That means no money for a new car unless it's cheap.


@aldo90731 Can you double-check the data on Genesis and Alfa Romeo; looks like it's graphing the same series twice. Carsalesbase has these numbers, which should produce two very different trendlines.

2017-2020 US sales:
Alfa: 12,031 (0.07%) ; 23,800 (0.14%) ; 18,292 (0.11%); 18,586 (0.13%)
Genesis: 20,612 (0.12%); 10,312 (0.06%) ; 21,233 (0.12%); 16,384 (0.11%)
 

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On the opening question, I suspect it's Covid magnifying an existing trend in Western countries, and the USA in particular: the higher earners, people who could have afforded to travel abroad, are also people whose jobs are generally able to be done at home; thanks to the various restrictions in 2020 their spending dropped, meaning they have more cash, so instead of a holiday this year, why not get the fancier SUV.

At the other end of the scale, people who have to be in work in person (who as a group generally earn less) have had their incomes badly hit by Covid for the same reasons that the upper earners have had more cash to spend. That means no money for a new car unless it's cheap.


@aldo90731 Can you double-check the data on Genesis and Alfa Romeo; looks like it's graphing the same series twice. Carsalesbase has these numbers, which should produce two very different trendlines.

2017-2020 US sales:
Alfa: 12,031 (0.07%) ; 23,800 (0.14%) ; 18,292 (0.11%); 18,586 (0.13%)
Genesis: 20,612 (0.12%); 10,312 (0.06%) ; 21,233 (0.12%); 16,384 (0.11%)
The 2018 dip for Genesis and 2017 dip for Alfa are missing from the graph. 2019 and 2020 numbers are statistically the same, we are dealing with really small numbers here.
 
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