Alfa Romeo to boost fleet sales, expand German dealer network

Frankfurt. Alfa Romeo wants to get back into the fast lane in Germany.

Two years ago the brand was selling almost 25,800 cars a year, but then things started going downhill. Last year, Alfa Romeo managed to sell just 15,350 units.

Kirsten Roennau, the new chief of Alfa Romeo Germany, said she hopes to reverse the trend.

"For the current year, I expect 16,500 new registrations. And we are aiming for approximately 26,000 new registrations by the end of 2006."

She has already identified two major weak points at the German importer: fleet business and the dealer network.

Roennau said fleet business had been neglected. "We hope that this sector will represent up to 10 percent of our total unit sales by the end of 2005." She said the brand would be looking to win business directly from companies with fleets of between five and 10 vehicles.

She also plans to increase the number of Alfa Romeo dealers from 176 to 270 by the end of 2005.

About 15 locations should be taken over by new partners this year, including Aschaffenburg, Bonn, Darmstadt, Mainz and Osnabrčck.

Roennau said: "We have a number of new models coming through. In mid-November the four-wheel-drive Crosswagon Q4, based on the 156, will be launched. From January 2005 the restyled 147 base model will be available, in June 2005 we'll have the successor to the 156, the 157, and in autumn (of 2005) the Sportwagon."

Also coming by the end of 2005 will be the Brera, successor to the GTV coupe, and the four-wheel version of the Alfa 147. By the middle of 2006 Alfa will enter the SUV segment with the Kamal.

Roennau also wants to increase Alfa's diesel share in Germany with a wider range of availability and to position the company against premium brands such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

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