Alfa Romeo picks ex-Fiat man as managing director

Alfa Romeo UK has appointed Christopher Nicoll as managing director, completing its new management team.

Nicoll’s appointment follows that of marketing director Nicholas Bernard, who joined Alfa last month (MW January 26). They will work with UK sales director Mario Di Maria, who has been with the company since 2002.

Nicoll, who was previously managing director of Fiat Auto in Switzerland and Austria, replaces Jose Garvia. Garvia, who was operations director, left the business last year less than four months after being appointed to run the marque in the UK (MW September 1, 2005).

Fiat Auto UK managing director Giulio Salomone has been overseeing the Alfa marque on top of his Fiat responsibilities since Garvia’s departure.

Alfa has been struggling in the UK. Its 2005 sales were down 21% at 6,396 units compared with 8,072 for 2004, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. It sold just 199 cars in the UK last month, compared with 531 in January 2005, a drop of more than 62%.

But the new 159 model will be launched in the UK on February 25, followed by the Brera and Spider later this year. Nicoll says: “We are confident the new products will re-establish the credentials of Alfa Romeo in the UK market.”

Start-up agency Krow picked up the launch of the Brera following a pitch against Mother and Alfa Romeo’s pan-European agency United (MW last week).

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