New launches pursue the market
Let's start with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio; what can you tell us about this vehicle?
Gianluca Italia: The Stelvio represents the excellence of the Italian automotive industry and is the most significant example of Alfa Romeo's long-standing reputation as a premium brand. The vehicle doesn't just look rugged and beautiful at the same time but also handles demanding terrains while offering a smooth ride.
It had a very exciting product launch in St Moritz, Switzerland. The road to St Moritz, which is a spectacular resort town in the Engadin valley, is beautiful, to say the least. There are plenty of bends and turns, climbs and descents, nestled in stunning mountainous scenery including the Swiss Alps and Italian Tyro. The route is iconic, playing host to numerous driving tours, holiday packages and motoring expeditions. The famous Stelvio Pass, traversed along the route, seemed a perfect and eponymous reason to launch the Stelvio there.
This world-famous road was ideal for highlighting the Stelvio's sporty handling, its engines' incredible performance and efficiency, and the best safety conditions provided by the tried-and-tested Q4 all-wheel-drive system.
The Giulia is a sports sedan; could you tell us a bit about this vehicle?
The Giulia is the most important signal of Alfa Romeo's rebirth. We have shown the world that we are able to make a product that competes with the best competitors without fear. Quite simply, the Giulia offers best-in-class driveability and is packed in a beautiful dress. In our minds, and for many Alfa Romeo fans, this model represents the highest demonstration of the world-famous Italian style. It's chic and classy but it's also powerful.
What is the offering of the Fiat Tipo range?
Fiat Tipo is more than a car; it is a family of products that have been specifically conceived to satisfy every customer's needs. We have the Fiat Tipo Hatchback and, of course, the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon for a little extra space.
What we love about the Tipo range is that it offers the best value-for-money features in the segment. The car is not only extremely practical and roomy for families or the adventurous but also offers two important and appreciated features: it's fun to drive and has a beautiful design.
Why did FCA opt to use Alfa Romeo's rear-wheel drive platform for the Stelvio, Giulia and Tipo?
The Giorgio platform, introduced with the Alfa Romeo Giulia, is a perfect example of the best Italian engineering. The exciting thing about this platform, besides its reliability, is its versatility. It can be adapted to accommodate an infinite range of products, from a sport sedan such as the Giulia, to an SUV such as the Stelvio. This is no small feat, and is testament to the skilled and artistic engineers responsible for the design.
The platform is dynamic and sporty thanks to a perfect weight balance between the front and the rear axles, resulting in a perfect drive in a variety of conditions. It has been conceived to fit four-wheel and all-wheel drive cars without any modifications, which is proof of significant gains in engineering development.
What is the shared philosophy behind the Alfa Romeo, Fiat Professional and Jeep brands?
In many ways, Alfa Romeo, Fiat Professional and Jeep are the brands that each differ most from one another under the FCA overarching brand. This is a good thing, because it shows the breadth and depth of our current range of vehicles; it also shows the success of the merger between Fiat and Chrysler, giving strength to both brands under a new relationship.
Having said that, it is important to note that the Alfa Romeo, Fiat Professional and Jeep share an essential feature: the power to excite people by giving them the opportunity to drive a vehicle that is best-in-class in its category.
What do you consider to be the most important characteristics for a business fleet vehicle?
Cost-saving considerations have become a great factor in fleet vehicles' selector decisions. In fact, cars' global efficiency is a major factor that drives customer choice. This is not surprising, considering economic and environmental concerns.
Of course, when it comes to fleet and business strategies, there are other extremely important factors related to proposing alternative ways of fulfilling customer mobility needs, such as long-term offers for private lease. It is important to be agile enough to adapt to customers' unique requirements while offering consistently good service and reliable products. FCA is playing a fundamental role in this new challenge.
What makes FCA well placed to deal with organisations' fleet demands?
We offer a bespoke mobility solution for each customer, and each solution is tailor-made for their needs. We have a full-liner range that is ready to impress in an extremely competitive market. The new-entry Tipo has immediately entered the market in the top ten after years of absence in the C segment, which is very exciting. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is now rivalling its German competitors, with great results in terms of brand awareness and the fact that it has been included in most of the companies' fleet wish lists.
What other branding and launching activities have taken place so far this year?
Jeep has launched the new Compass, a car that takes the brand to a new level of its premium status. It's rugged but comfortable, with the option of heated leather-trimmed front seats, 18in aluminium wheels, a two-tone black roof, a panoramic sunroof and many other enhancements. The exterior has an aerodynamic design with a confident stance and sophisticated profile.
The Compass has been built to be the most capable compact SUV in its segment. It is available in Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4×4 Systems, ready to tackle trails in any weather condition. Of course, this requires strict safety and security measures. The driver and passengers are protected by more than 70 available safety and security features, with multiple advanced active and passive features. It has a key role in completing the Jeep range, with a product that redefines the standards of its segment in terms of quality, handling, performance and usability.
What can we expect from FCA in the future?
Since 2014, FCA has stormed the market with a rainfall of new products. Some of them marked our comeback in market segments where we hadn't been present for some time, such as the Giulia and Tipo. But we have also shown our mettle in new segments with our Renegade, 5ooX, Fullback, Talento and the new Stelvio. The introduction of all these products will bring our coverage to three quarters of the potential European market - 20% higher than coverage was two years ago. We will keep going with this product-offensive strategy, which will allow us to cover an always bigger market share.