Alfa Romeo will phase out production of the Giulietta compact hatchback by the end of this year, a top manager for the brand told a UK car magazine.
The Giulietta "is expected to finish its life at the end of this year," Fabio Migliavacca, Alfa's head of product marketing, told Autocar.
The hatchback will be replaced in Alfa Romeo’s lineup by the Tonale, a compact SUV, he said, noting that the sales trend in the compact segment was toward SUVs.
Alfa Romeo is focused on ensuring that the Tonale, expected to be launched in 2021, has the same handling feel as the Giulietta despite being an SUV, Migliavacca said. “We don’t expect driving dynamics to be a weak point for the Tonale,” he said.
An Alfa Romeo spokesman confirmed to Automotive News Europe that the Giulietta would not be replaced but said there was no date for the end of the model’s production.
The Giulietta was not included in Alfa Romeo’s future brand plans unveiled late last year, which include the Tonale next year; mid-cycle updates of the Giulia midsize sedan and Stelvio midsize SUV, also planned for next year; and a small SUV in 2022.
The Giulietta, launched in 2010, has struggled to find customers in recent years. According to data from JATO Dynamics, registrations in Europe fell 42 percent last year to 15,525 units, with 9,736 (63 percent) in Italy. Giulietta’s best-selling year was 2011, with 78,911 units sold.
The Giulietta also comes with an emissions penalty, as automakers try to meet 2020-21 EU targets of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. It is currently offered with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine that emits 157 g/km and two diesel engines, with emissions that start from 118 g/km. There are no electrified options, while most competitors in the segment are offering a variety of mild hybrid, conventional hybrid or plug-in hybrid choices.
According to JATO, sales of compact hatchbacks fell by 4.5 percent in Europe last year to 2,163,768 from 2,266,769 in 2018. Sales of compact SUVs and crossovers increased 8 percent to 2,090,273 from 1,936,078 in 2018.