No more ‘unreliable’ Alfas? CEO says its warranty costs have been halved

Published Dec 20, 2023


We’re all familiar with those Alfa Romeo stereotypes, entrenched in automotive folklore for decades now.

These Italian beauties will ignite your passion for cars. Some even say you’re not a true enthusiast until you’ve owned one. But inevitably it will leave you in a fit of rage by the roadside when it decides to break. Or so they say. Some owners claim their Alfas have never let them down.

Either way, it seems that modern Alfa Romeos are turning the tide on the brand’s reputation for being unreliable.

In a recent interview with Automotive News Europe, Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said that his push for quality in recent years had halved the brand’s warranty costs.

Imparato said the launch of the Alfa Romeo Tonale had been delayed by six months because he believed that its quality “was not where it should have been”.

Interestingly, the 2023 JD Power Initial Quality Survey in the US saw Alfa Romeo emerging as the top brand, having reduced its “problems per 100 vehicles” number from 211 to 143.

Imparato, a long-standing Peugeot boss who was put in charge of Alfa following the formation of Stellantis in 2021, also said he had improved profitability for the long-struggling Italian brand by reducing complexity and increasing product prices by around 4,500 euros (R90,000) on average. Scarcity caused by the semi-conductor shortage certainly helped with that.

"The first time I went to Cassino (the Italian factory that builds Giulia and Giulietta), I discovered there were about 4,000 options – including 47 wheel rims – and I cut them to 1,500 to reduce complexity," Imparato told Automotive News Europe.

While Alfa Romeo appears to be winning the war against unreliability, there are fears that some of its modern SUV products are losing the brand’s sparkle when it comes to sheer driving enjoyment.

Although this driver-focused passion is still very evident in the larger rear-drive-platform Giulia and Stelvio, anecdotally speaking, many motoring journalists who drove the Tonale hybrid were less than impressed with its drivetrain. It was accused of being laggy and lacking the sharp responsiveness and performance that one has come to expect from the brand.

With Alfa Romeo gearing up to be an all-electric brand from 2027, some fans are concerned that the brand’s driving character will be further diluted.

Alfa Romeo is set to launch its first electric model in 2024. This will be a version of the new Milano compact crossover, which will also be offered in petrol-electric hybrid guise. The company expects the Milano to eventually account for around 40% of its global sales, according to Autocar.

When asked by the British publication whether the Milano will still feel like an Alfa despite it being underpinned by the Peugeot 2008’s E-CMP platform, Imparto said:

"The answer to that will be on the track in Balocco," which is the Italian track where the newcomer will be launched next year.

"You will drive it, and you will have the answer to that question. This car follows the platform strategy of the group, and I'm very pleased with that because it brings me profit, but always we will have the touch of Alfa Romeo.”

Alfa Romeo also plans to launch all-electric replacements for the Giulia and Stelvio between 2025 and 2026, with outputs of up to 590kW for the Veloce versions and 745kW for the QV, Autocar reported.

From what we can deduce, the future at Alfa Romeo is certainly FAST. But will it still ignite driving passion in the electric era? That remains to be seen.


IOL Motoring