Alfa’s Hope?

Alfa Romeo has been dealing with disappointing sales for quite some time now. The, sort of, recently released MiTo and Giulietta aren’t selling poorly, but haven’t brought the company the surge of sales they were hoping for.

Other than those two, the only other model in the brand’s line-up is the 159. That’s not what you’d call an impressive portfolio and if mum Fiat wasn’t holding her crippled son up Alfa would’ve probably been dead and buried already. And perhaps resurrected and six feet under again a couple of times as well. In any case, the company’s performance isn’t doing justice to its heritage and that’s a pity.

Then again, it’s no surprise Alfa Romeo dealerships aren’t selling more than the odd car a week (month?). Development and facelifting of new models doesn’t seem to have any sort of priority. Or in any case, they’re not doing it right! The Giulietta was delayed a couple of times and an estate version of the model is keeping the market waiting. The 159 has been virtually unchanged since its release onto the market in 2005. It’s a bit like a shriveled old grandpa, but according to car press last month Alfa, despite the fact that production has stopped and the car is only available from remaining stock, isn’t rushing its replacement, said to be called the Giulia. The reason according to Fiat CEO Marchionne: they haven’t yet got the right engines available.

But we shouldn’t forget about the one other thing the company is working on and that is unlike anything in its current portfolio: the 4C. The 4C is an Alfa as an Alfa is supposed to be: sporty, lightweight and beautiful.  The car is to weigh just 850 kg and will have “over 200” race horses at its disposal, coming from a 1.75 litre petrol engine. By all means an athletic car. Prices are fairly steep but not excessive and that gives me hope that the 4C is actually going to be the success its mere looks suggest it should be.

None of that is new, but what is, is that the car will be built by Maserati. From May 2013 onward 2,500 4Cs will come rolling off the production line annually. Not numbers to miraculously solve all of Alfa’s problems I reckon, but I still expect hope those 2,500 to sell like croissants in a French bakery on a Sunday morning.

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