The brand needs to become rational in order to appeal to a wider audience.
In a recent interview with Autocar, Alfa Romeo's UK boss, Damien Dally, stated that the Italian manufacturer wants to move away from its traditional image. According to Dally, Alfa wants to move from being an "emotional brand down to a rational one."
As you might have guessed, Alfa's new direction starts with the Tonale. The latest in a long line of Alfa renaissances kicks off with the midsize SUV with 256 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. There are several reasons to be excited by the Tonale. First, Alfa's CEO, Jean-Phillippe Imparato, held it back because he was not impressed when he walked through the doors in early 2021. Imparato also set new quality standards, which we hope will improve Alfa's reputation.
Finally, it has a stunning interior we got to experience for ourselves at the New York Motor Show. And if it's half as good to drive as the Stelvio, it's bound to be a winner.
It's not all good news, however. The Tonale will be followed by a new model each year until 2030. An EV SUV will arrive in 2024, and internal combustion will be ditched by 2027. If you've ever heard the Giulia Quadrifoglio splendiferous twin-turbo V6 at full throttle, you'll know how sad this piece of news is. But this is the opinion of a middle-aged man, which Alfa wants to avoid."This is the challenge for Alfa, as we're seen as a sporty brand," said Dally.
Dally wants the brand to appeal to a broader audience, and that's where models like the Tonale hybrid come in. "I think we need to spread the Alfa story to a wider audience while still being pure to what we do."
Despite this, Dally says that sedans and SUVs like the Giulia and Stelvio will always be part of the brand's identity.
"Saloon cars are part of what Alfa Romeo has always been about," he said. "The market may be moving away from saloon cars, but we still believe in them. But we also want to enter the volume segments, firstly with the Tonale."
The current plan is to focus on volume models like the Tonale and the upcoming EV SUV so it can make some much-needed profit. According to Dally, only then can the brand go back to building what it's famous for. "Let's get a sustainable business model, let's get into the volume segments, grow our business, and then we can dream again."
"There are lots of amazing things to come, but let's first get this amazing, emotional brand down to a rational level. Let's get ourselves into some volume segments. Let's wake some people up to the brand," said Dally.