Soon after he helped merge PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to create Stellantis last year, CEO Carlos Tavares gave longtime lieutenant Jean-Philippe Imparato one of the toughest tasks in the new group: fix Alfa Romeo. Imparato's previous five years were spent at Peugeot, which he turned into a cash cow for PSA. He has had an immediate impact at Alfa, putting the chronic money loser into position to make a “positive contribution” to Stellantis' profit and loss sheet in the first half of 2021. This was achieved by de-emphasizing volume and focusing instead on more profitable sales channels to improve transaction prices and margins. Alfa's goal is to match BMW on price in every market where the brands compete. When Imparato arrived, his aging lineup included just two models, the Giulia midsize sedan and Stelvio midsize crossover. Alfa's first new model in six years, the Tonale compact SUV, goes on sale in June. Imparato shared his expectations for the new model and outlined his long-term plans for Alfa during an interview with Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher & Editor Luca Ciferri and Correspondent Andrea Malan last month at the company's museum in Arese, near Milan.
When you led PSA's Peugeot your pricing benchmark was Volkswagen brand. Does Stellantis follows this same plan and, if so, which brand is Alfa's benchmark ?
Stellantis follows the same pattern. Our pricing benchmark is BMW in every region. To me, pricing is not a selling tool, it's a lever to improve a brand's positioning. You can't build a premium brand if you are under pressure to reach high volumes. I'm lucky to have a boss [Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares] who said, “I don't even speak about market share.” We focus on quality, margin per unit and pricing power. We want to be able to say we brought Alfa to the right level of technology, electrification, CO2 emissions while reaching an adequate profitability level. We must protect the reputation of the brand and of the Italian plants where Alfas are made. The factories in Cassino and Pomigliano can assemble cars at the right quality level.