The global chief executive of Alfa Romeo has spoken frankly about how he has no interest in how many cars the Italian marque sells.
Speaking at a roundtable alongside fellow Stellantis premium brand DS CEO Beatrice Foucher, Jean-Philippe Imparato – the former chief executive of Peugeot – was stark about how he intends to move away from ‘poor-quality and discounted’ models that have plagued Alfa Romeo for the past few decades.
Imparato, who only took over at the Italian marque at the start of 2021 after a four-year stint at Peugeot that saw him change that brand’s fortunes around, was adamant that Alfa Romeo would no longer be chasing volumes as he set about announcing a new five-year plan that is ‘locked and funded’.
Imparato said: ‘This business is not supported by volumes and last-day registrations. I don’t want that and Stellantis does not need that.
‘I don’t even know how many cars we’ll have sold by the end of 2021.
‘I don’t want to push metal – it destroyed the brand in the past. Margin per unit is far more important to me.’
Despite less than a year at the business, Imparato has already made a number of changes to the business – or ‘removing all the toxic channels’, as the passionate Frenchman says.
When he took over, just 38 per cent of new cars made had an end buyer in sight. Today, the built-to-order number is 72 per cent, and by the end of 2022 that figure will be 90 per cent.
Even with no new cars being introduced since joining the company, he helped Alfa Romeo return to profitability for the first half of 2021.
With Alfa Romeo – as well as DS and Stellantis’s van firms – set to introduce agency sales to all new vehicles from June 2023, Imparato was also stark about how dealers needed to change.
‘Retailers need to review their business model.
‘I can’t imagine for one second that the current business model for dealers will be stable in the coming years.
‘You have to control distribution costs, so we are changing the way we sell cars.’
Although Imparato wouldn’t go into detail about how the full agency model would work – nor how much a dealer would get for selling a car – he added that ‘we will not be the last that moves to agency sales, that’s for sure’.
With five new Alfa Romeo models set to be introduced over the next five years, including a range of EVs and PHEVs, there seems to be plenty to be optimistic about at the Italian firm – something that certainly couldn’t be said in recent times.
‘I am focused on the five years coming as I don’t want to over-promise, I want to deliver.
‘It’s ‘‘back to work’’ for Alfa Romeo and I absolutely know the potential of my cars,’ Imparato added.