Alfa Romeo a successful year, thanks to Giulietta







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: January 24, 2012
Categories: Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo Giulietta

2011 was a very successful year for Alfa Romeo that, in Europe, passed from 0.8% to 1% thanks to the Giulietta. In fact, the car’s sales reached 2.8% in Europe and 14.5% in Italy, these being the highest sales figures ever achieved by an Alfa Romeo in the hatchback segment.

Alfa-Romeo Giulietta TCT

In concrete terms, 2011 saw the registration of approximately 80,000 vehicles in Europe, of which 45% were in Italy (35,000). The foreign markets on which the Giulietta had its best results were the French (more than 9,200 cars), the English (more than 7,000 cars) and German (more than 6,300 cars); since its launch, worldwide orders for the Giulietta have totalled almost 140,000.

Sales of the car have witnessed a preference for the top “Distinctive” and “Exclusive” levels of fitting that represent about 90% of the total.

When it comes to the engine, sales have leaned towards the more powerful versions: for example the 170 hp 1.4 MultiAir has a sales mix of 15%, about 7 times the segment average in this power range. The most popular engine is the 105 hp 1.6 MultiJet that accounts for 35% of the total sales.

The most popular colour is Ghiaccio White that everyone will remember from the commercials and that has been chosen for 35% of the cars sold, while the reds, an essential element in the Alfa range, represent about 6% of the total.

When it comes to red, the sport packs present in the Giulietta range are highly appreciated; of the customers choosing the Distinctive/Exclusive fittings, almost half customise their Giulietta with the sport touch.

Giulietta immediately won over a very wide and diverse public; the car has been the choice of those with an average age of 40 and a medium-high level of education, 20% of whom have been women (in line with the market), while people with families represent a good half of the purchasers, compared with the segment average of a fifth. These last two figures show an inversion of the Alfa Romeo target trend, testifying to how much the car’s elegance and practicality has been appreciated by the public.

However, Giulietta has not only been praised by customers; since its launch it has received various awards from the national and international press, as you can see behind me.

The reasons behind this astonishing success are simple: Giulietta has known how to keep the promises made at its launch:

  • handling and driving pleasure,
  • quality and contained operating costs,
  • comfort and habitability,
  • active and passive safety.

Giulietta joins the tradition of the best Alfa Romeos, treasuring their heritage in terms of dynamic performance, without compromising efficiency and everyday comfort.

The secret behind this performance is the fruit of constant technological research that finds its best expression in Giulietta.

  • The compact architecture, created with highly resistant materials that have allowed containment of the weight of the structure,
  • the Dual Pinion steering wheel and sophisticated suspension systems,
  • the Alfa DNA dynamic drive selector and the award-winning Multijet and Multiair engines.

These are the innovations that have led to the project’s success. Today, the Alfa TCT transmission completes the car’s extraordinary technological offer.

For those who believe that performance must compromise safety, Giulietta breaks the mould, imposing itself as the safest car of its segment.

When talking about a car that aims for the top, both in performance and everyday use, safety has always been a priority, not only for us, but also our customers. Besides Giulietta’s dynamic features, the car offers, as standard equipment on all versions, unique safety features, such as:

  • the Alfa DNA system, with electronic Q2 (a system that - when cornering - transfers the torque to the external wheel to prevent the front from understeering, thus gaining traction and improving driveability),
  • DST (that prompts the driver to make the correct manoeuvre in emergencies, through a pulse sent to the steering wheel).
  • Pre-fill (that guarantees the maximum braking promptness in the case of danger).
  • To these is added:
    • the anti-whiplash system,
    • three-point seatbelts with double pretensioners,
    • 6 airbags as standard,
    • and ESP.

All these features mean a record breaking level of active and passive safety: Giulietta has proved to be the safest hatchback ever tested by EuroNcap. This is even more important if you remember that, notwithstanding the stricter standards introduced by EuroNcap and the launch of new cars, Giulietta still remains the undisputed reference point when it comes to hatchback safety.

Giulietta reaches excellent standards thanks to top construction quality on all fronts. Driving comfort, for instance, is class leading, thanks to the suspension’s longitudinal and vertical filtering capacity.

The same is true for the sound insulation of the passenger compartment that, with 25% thicker side windows and double door seals, has proved to be the best among its direct competitors both when it comes to articulation and when travelling over cobles at 50 kph.

With regard to the interiors, Giulietta is able to combine a truly sporty look and feel with great practicality in everyday use. Its habitability is in fact a strong point: the high-quality materials employed for the dashboard and an ergonomically designed passenger compartment contribute to the passenger compartment’s high level of habitability. The luggage compartment capacity wasn’t compromised too, thanks to a very regular and totally usable boot with a width between the wheels of 1023 mm and a maximum capacity of 350 lt. These are the elements on which such a wide-ranging success is based, capable of appealing to a varied public that also includes families.

Finally, when driving Giulietta, the dynamic feeling you get is unmatched. Like a true Alfa Romeo, in the roll test Giulietta recorded the lowest inclination among all its direct competitors.

There now follows a series of facts that prove the Giulietta’s construction quality. Let’s start with servicing: compared with its competitors, Giulietta is the car that needs the lowest number of service intervals during its first 3 years or 90,000 km.

All this confirms its efficiency and very low operating costs, which have led to the car being preferred not just by individuals but also by fleets, where Giulietta is the top seller in Italy and is entering the policy of all the leading European companies.

Further proof of the top quality of the Giulietta is its residual value: according to third parties such as Eurotax, Giulietta has the best resale value among cars of its segment. After twelve months, the values are for the Italian market (68.5%), the English (77.5%) and Spanish (66.9%), but also on all the other markets Giulietta is at the top when it comes to residual value among its competitors.

Further proof of the Giulietta’s construction qualities is given by customer opinion: 98% are satisfied and almost all (90%) recommend the car; 15 points above the general market average for models at their launch.

Customer survey shows that characteristics like handling, comfort and efficiency are those that satisfy them the most and their satisfaction increases with the miles covered.

It is the data regarding efficiency that testifies to the car’s excellent performance/fuel consumption ratio that will be further improved thanks to the introduction of the Alfa TCT.

If you think that performance has always weighed on efficiency and fuel consumption, Giulietta will make you change your mind: with the new Alfa TCT automatic transmission, the car achieves truly excellent figures in its segment, improving on the already great manual transmission. As you can see for both TCT equipped engines the acceleration from 0 to 62 improves whilst reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at the same time.

Concerning the relation between CO2 emissions and the power; Giulietta is placed in the best in class area not only when it comes to the petrol engine but also the diesel. Not only regarding engines with equal power, but also when compared to versions with less power. One example among them all: when comparing the Giulietta 170hp TCT 1.4 MultiAir with a vehicle like the Golf, with the same power output and an automatic transmission (160 hp 1.4 TSI DSG), Giulietta consumes 0.8 less litres per 100 km and pollutes 18 g of CO2 per kilometer less.

To equal the Giulietta’s consumption and emission figures the Golf must reduce by 65 hp and lose the automatic transmission.

To sum up, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, heir of a great tradition, manages to match top handling and top performance with the efficiency of a car that is comfortable and cutting-edge from every point of view. So, the innovative Alfa Twin Clutch Transmission completes the car’s rich technological offer.

Giulietta maintains all the characteristics of handling, comfort and safety, further improving performance and efficiency with total respect for the environment.

All this will allow us to increase our coverage of the European hatchback market by about 10%, with peaks of 30% in Switzerland and Holland.

Worldwide, Giulietta will be launched and to also compete on markets where automatic transmissions prevail, such as the Japanese and the Australian ones.

Since the beginning of sales, demand for the Alfa TCT has been 15% of all vehicles, therefore above the European average and promising tremendous success in future sales.

Alfa TCT, the best automatic transmission in its class in terms of efficiency-to-performance ratio

The latest generation Alfa TCT (Twin Clutch Transmission) dry dual clutch automatic transmission is the class benchmark for its ratio between performance, fuel consumption and emissions, and is combined on the Giulietta with the 170 HP 1.4 TB MultiAir and 170 HP 2.0 JTDM engines. In particular, the innovative transmission ensures greater driving comfort and a sportier feeling than automatic transmissions with torque converter, but with improved efficiency and lower fuel consumption. Worth noting is that Alfa TCT improves fuel consumption even respect to the corresponding versions with manual transmission by exploiting integrated, smart engine and transmission control in order to optimise engine system performance and efficiency.

The transmission works in either all-automatic or sequential mode, as required by the driver. The user may manually manage the up and down position of the accurate, ergonomic shift stick, to which steering wheel shift paddles may be combined. In addition, the driver can customise the car's personality using the Alfa D.N.A. driving selector to enhance its features of comfort, performance, safety and efficiency.

The Giulietta with Alfa TCT version is equipped with the 170 HP 1.4 TB MultiAir engine ("Best New Engine 2010"). Its top speed is 218 km/h with just 7.7 seconds needed to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Even if with this excellent performance, the fuel consumption and emissions are extraordinarily low: 5.2 l/100 km over a combined cycle and 121 g/km of CO2, values that make the Giulietta the most environmentally-friendly and efficient petrol-powered compact on the market, even when compared with manual gearbox versions of competitors with definitely lower power ratings and performance.

Even when fitted with the 170 HP 2.0 JTDM diesel engine, the values are record-breaking. In fact, compared to the same manual gearbox version, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h changes from 8.0 seconds to 7.9 seconds, fuel consumption (combined cycle) drops from 4.7 l/100 km to 4.5 l/100 km, while CO 2emissions reach the record level for an engine of this power equal to 119 g/km (124 g/km with the manual gearbox). The low running costs together with low fuel consumption make it the ideal choice also for company fleets.

The new Alfa TCT conceptually consists of two gearboxes in parallel, one for even gears and one for odd gears, each with its own clutch, which allows the selection and engagement of the subsequent gear while the previous one is still engaged. The gear is therefore changed with a simple, smooth yet very fast switching of the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction. The result is a driving comfort and sporty feeling well above that offered by conventional automatic transmissions (with torque converter) characterised by constant connection of the engine to the wheels, a faster gear shift feeling, the possibility of selecting between manual or automatic mode, all without significant power loss during shifts. Furthermore, consumption is reduced by up to 10% with respect to a traditional automatic gearbox. Alfa TCT uses dry clutches allowing, in addition to other advantages, natural integration with Start&Stop, a function which is not always available with traditional automatic transmissions, and which guarantees a further benefit in terms of fuel consumption, particularly in cities.

The electro-hydraulic gear and clutch actuating system is of the high specific power and efficiency type. The virtually imperceptible shifting time can be minimised in terms of comfort in the Alfa TCT according to the position of the Alfa D.N.A. lever. The hydraulic actuating oil pressurising electric system, on the other hand, is activated only when needed in order to cut loss in the system as a whole.

The operation of the Alfa TCT is also designed to integrate the engine and the various onboard systems in the best manner. To allow for the best performance on the road, depending on the driving conditions and on the driver's wishes, the transmission interacts with the Alfa D.N.A., braking system, engine control and vehicle stability control system (VDC). The engine control system automatically identifies road conditions, gradients and bends and optimises traction by selecting the most appropriate gear, managing engine torque delivery and modulating the brakes. With lightening-fast parameter processing, the transmission can adapt its behaviour in real time. For instance, on curves, shifts may be subjected to the vehicle speed and position of the Alfa D.N.A. lever. In Natural mode the system sets shifting on curves to maximum comfort, while in Dynamic mode, and whenever appropriate, shifting is inhibited to supply the best performance. During ASR/VDC system operation, as in All Weather mode, the engine of the Giulietta with Alfa TCT adapts its performance to ensure maximum vehicle stability. When starting off uphill from a standstill, the Alfa TCT interfaces with the Start&Stop and the braking system via the Hill Holder function to prevent the car from slipping back in undesirable manner.

With regards to ergonomics, the driver simply needs to release the brake pedal to make the car start off smoothly when parking, in queues or at the traffic lights thanks to the “Creeping” function.

Further particularities of the new Alfa TCT are flexible application, compact construction, the use of a double dry clutch (of the type which guarantees the highest efficiency in terms of consumption between automatic transmissions). This transmission is the first in the world to guarantee up to 350 Nm of transmittable engine torque, which means that it can be coupled to the remarkable 170 HP 2.0 JTDM diesel engine without limiting its performance and securing all the advantages listed above at the same time. Clutches are designed "for life" and unlike traditional clutches do not need to be replaced. If we compare "Dry" clutches with oil bath ("Wet") ones, we can safely say that the former dissipate energy only during the actual slipping phase of the gear change and on pick-up, whereas wet clutches, which always operate in an oil bath, introduce losses due to viscous friction such as those of conventional automatic transmissions even when they are not in operation. They also require forced cooling with oil and therefore continuous energy expenditure to drive the dedicated oil pump (absent in the case of dry clutches).

Lastly, a "Wet" automatic transmission requires approximately 4.8 litres more gearbox oil than the "Dry" version, again for reasons of clutch cooling (in this way, weight is added and losses due to increase of splashing caused by the gears). When all these effects are combined, a dry transmission, like the Alfa TCT, is found to be approximately 6% more efficient than the corresponding wet one in terms of consumption.