Alfa Romeo still has a ways to go before it can challenge the top dogs in its segment, but by all measures its return to he United States is going extremely well.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles luxury brand’s U.S. sales grew by more than 2,000 percent in 2017, with Alfa having sold around 12,000 vehicles, according to Bloomberg. Alfa Romeo sold just 528 units in 2016, when it’s lineup consisted solely of the roughly $55,000 4C Spider.

The Italian manufacturers newfound popularity largely was the result of the highly anticipated Giulia, of which Alfa sold 2,500 units in Q4. That’s admittedly a far cry from the 25,600 examples of the 3 Series that BMW sold in that period, but considering Alfa Romeo moved just 400 fewer Giulias than Cadillac did ATS sedans, it certainly is nothing to be ashamed of.

For Alfa, however, sales figures alone aren’t a way to determine success.

“We want to make sure we earn our position in the segment,” Pieter Hogeveen, Alfa Romeo’s director in North America, told Bloomberg. “It’s not just chasing sales numbers for us.”

Although its ultimate target would be to take the fight to the big three German automakers, it isn’t attempting to imitate them. Instead, customers are being drawn to Alfa Romeo because of its characterful performance and Italian design.

Carlock Motor Cars in Nashville, for example, has sold an especially large number of Giulia Ti Sports. And many customers have opted for loud colors such as red, something that rarely happens with German cars.

“It was a little counterintuitive for us,” sales manager Mitchell Sherwood said. “They’re definitely not buying it in silver with black interior and trying to blend in.”

Alfa Romeo’s success is likely to continue, as the FCA marques will regularly receive global exposure through its involvement with Sauber F1 Team starting in 2018.

Thumbnail photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles