The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta is already proving to be the big hit that brand needs it to be with a report stating that the Italian order book now stands at 22,000 units which gives the model a strong boost after a showroom launch less than three months ago. The order book figures come from a Reuters report.

According to Italian automotive trade body UNRAE the Giulietta saw 1,803 registrations on its domestic market during June, its first month of deliveries, which at the time provided a very welcome boost for the Alfa Romeo brand and that planted the new model firmly as the eighth best-seller in C-segment. Last month, its second month of deliveries in Italy saw the Giulietta amass 2,931 registrations which allowed it to jump into third place in C-segment behind the VW Golf (4,024) and Nissan Qashqai (3,036) while its Fiat Group Automobiles' (FGA) portfolio sister, the Fiat Bravo, saw its sales continued to head sharply south, despite new engines and some cosmetic improvements it managed only eighth place in July and with just 1,819 registrations that was down by almost a half on last year. The other FGA representative in C-segment, Lancia's Delta sells steadily just shy of one and a half thousand units a month. The Reuters report sees the Giulietta now moving into second place in C-segment in Italy.

This strong order book comes as welcome news. It has long been a popular cliché that the next Alfa Romeo is make or break for the brand and it has been tagged to almost every model launched since the carmaker, which is celebrating it's centenary this year, was bought by Fiat Group mid way through the 1980s, and, despite plenty of investment, lack of clear leadership and a focused direction has seen the brand's fortunes decline. Although the Fiat Group doesn't breakdown the profitability of it's individual brands, Alfa Romeo is believed to have never turned in a profit under Fiat's ownership and is reputed to lose around 200 million euros a year. Last year its volumes only just topped the six figure mark and its niche models have declined dramatically this year while it was revealled this month that the Brera and Spider, which never found much favour with consumers despite their award-winning looks, will be discontinued next month. The 159 sedan and Sportwagon have seen sales collapse this year on all markets and the MiTo has never broken out of its niche appeal and has also been a key loser since Europe-wide state-supported "Eco" incentives were wound down this spring. It all leaves the Giulietta with a very big task on it's hands - as well as a hard act to follow - it succeeds the Alfa 147 which was a strong seller during an almost a decade long life and one of the brand's biggest hits in recent years - and it also slots into the strategically important C-segment

The portents for the Giulietta are very promising though: based on a highly sophisticated new-generation of platform, C-Evo, and with an optimised range of launch petrol and diesel engines (initial engine line-ups has often been a mistake made by Alfa Romeo in the past) the five-door hatchback has won glowing reports from the media and it's styling has been widely acclaimed.

Now it seems that Italian car buyers are also giving it the thumbs up with 22,000 orders being at the top end of predictions. It went on sale in Italy in late May and its arrival in the showrooms kicked off with an "open day" right across the 200-strong Italian dealer network. That weekend (May 22-23) saw 90,000 visitors turn up, taking 10,000 test drives over the 200 cars available, and 2,700 firm orders taken. The success of the initiative saw the "open day" concept rolled through to the next weekend and by the time that had closed more than 20,000 test drives had been made and the order book stood at more than 5,000 units.

Over the coming months the Giulietta will arrive on other key European new car markets, including Germany, France and the UK, and if the brand does get a green light for the constantly "on-off" North American re-launch then the future restyled Giulietta is very likely to be a candidate to join any stateside line-up.


© 2010 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed