Chrysler executives confirmed four dealerships in Canada have been awarded Alfa Romeo franchises ahead of the brand’s return to North America later this year.
The selected stores – Fiat of Vancouver in B.C., Maranello Fiat in Vaughan, Ont., LaSalle Fiat in LaSalle, Que., and JD Fiat in Boischatel, Que. – will make up the entire Canadian presence for the brand compared to the 82 stores named in the U.S.
Peter Grady, V-P of network development at Chrysler, said each Alfa Romeo dealer would have a unique staff dedicated to the brand’s premium market clientele.
“We require each Alfa Romeo dealer to have their sales and technical staff go through an intensive curriculum to ensure the highest levels of customer care and proficiency of the Alfa Romeo 4C,” he said, noting the automaker anticipates Alfa Romeo’s dealer network would eventually exceed 300 franchises in North America.
The entire initial wave of stores will be paired with existing Fiat and Maserati brand dealers. Up first in terms of product will be the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe and limited-edition 4C Launch Edition.
It also comes as little surprise to see where the stores are located geographically with Maranello covering the Greater Toronto Area and the two Quebec stores servicing Montreal and Quebec City.
Luxury car dealer Remo Ferri owns Maranello Fiat. He said he is working with Chrysler to figure out exactly where Alfa will be retailed as he has multiple options.
He currently owns a Ferrari Maserati dealership, Fiat Maranello and Vaughan Chrysler all in Vaughan’s Auto Park Circle roughly 10 minutes north of Toronto.
He has recently undertaken a full rebuild of the Chrysler store and is unsure exactly where in the auto mall the new brand will work best.
Chrysler turned heads this past April at the New York Auto Show when it revealed the Alfa Romeo destined for North American roads. The sleek, high-performance 4C has an ultra-lightweight architecture and includes Formula 1 technology.
Powered by an all-new 1,750 cc direct-injection, 237-horsepower aluminum engine, the car borrows some technical and industrial expertise from Maserati. Given the close development partnership the brands have shared, it comes as little surprise the nameplates will share showroom space as well.
In an early May presentation to investors, dealers and the media, Alfa Romeo brand chief Harald Wester revealed the company plans to spend approximately five billion euros by 2018 for research and development, manufacturing and product-related investments on new Alfa model production.
The global target has been set at 400,000 units retailed annually by 2018, more than “fivefold” current volume.
Wester also revealed the brand would launch a mid-size sedan in the fourth quarter of 2015. Another six models are set to follow between 2016 and 2018 including new compact, mid-sized and full-sized sedans along with two utility vehicles and what is most likely another high-performance specialty nameplate.
And while some analysts have questioned whether the bet on upscale and sporty Alfa Romeo can help Chrysler in North America in the same vein Audi has helped Volkswagen, Ferri for one, is confident that his old friend Sergio Marchionne is on the right path.
“I think Alfa is a great name with a tremendous history. I think there’s potential,” he said, noting we will see additional Alfa products including a coupe, spider, SUV and sedan over the next few years.
As for the Maserati side of the business, Ferri said he hopes to build on the growing success he has seen at his other Maserati points, Maserati of Ontario in Vaughan, Maserati of Calgary and his latest construction product, a new Maserati store in Oakville, Ont.
He admitted that while the luxury brand hadn’t traditionally moved much volume in the past, new product and a concentrated marketing plan from the automaker has him well on his way to delivering over 400 cars in Ontario this year.
“As it stands with the Ghibli and the new Quattroporte, we do an average of 25 cars a month already. Oakville will definitely open up a new market for us and we are looking to increase that by 50 per cent,” he said.
As if that were not enough to deal with, Ferri also revealed he was recently awarded the chance to build a new Rolls Royce store in Calgary. He said he already owns a plot of land and is currently working with the city on securing permits. Construction on that facility, Rolls Royce’s fourth dealership in Canada, should start sometime in July.
“I love luxury brands. I grew up with sports cars and it’s a great addition to have Rolls Royce with us. It compliments all my other brands,” he said.
The Remo Ferri Group of Automobiles currently owns nine dealerships representing 12 brands.