MILAN -- Alfa Romeo increased production by 62 percent last year, boosted by sales of the Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover, but the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand fell short of CEO Sergio Marchionne's expectations.
Alfa's output at its three Italian factories was 150,722, up from the 93,117 in 2016, according to the Fim-Cisl union. FCA does not release production or sales numbers.
Speaking to analysts in April and in July last year, Marchionne said he expected Alfa's vehicle sales to be 170,000 for 2017. At the end of October Marchionne was more cautious, saying the brand's U.S. sales were slower than expected and Alfa was "behind the curve" in China.
Market researchers JATO Dynamics estimate the brand's global sales were 118,000 and 125,000 last year, up from 71,700 in 2016.
Alfa's U.S. sales rose to 12,031 for the year, up from just 516 in 2016, according to the Automotive News Data Center, after the Giulia went on sale to American customers in January and the Stelvio in July.
The brand's volume in the EU and EFTA markets rose 33 percent to 79,963 in the first 11 months, according to industry association ACEA. Full-year sales will be released later this month.
In China, Alfa was hurt by new regulations that came into force in July limiting the ability of automakers to push sales through dealers. Alfa's sales in China were 410 units in November, according to a JATO estimate, and 497 in December, according to an LMC estimate. The figures were well down on July, the brand's best month, when it sold 3,331 vehicles in China, according to JATO.
Alfa's global sales will be between 140,000 and 150,000 this year, JATO estimates. Alfa has no new products coming this year so its sales performance will depend on the success of the Stelvio in the U.S. and China, JATO analyst Felipe Munoz said.
Marchionne's revival plan for Alfa, unveiled in 2014, called for 400,000 global sales by 2018 with an expanded lineup of eight new models.
In 2016, FCA dropped Alfa's volume targets and extended the date for completing the eight-model lineup to mid-2020.