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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26: "Welcome back, Alfa"

 When I see this symbol, the Alfa Romeo's that come to my mind, are the ones I've seen in old racing pics. The Alfa I think of is an Italian race car with a great and proud heritage. Racing cars, like the one depicted in the painting below, by Roy Nickolds. Italian racing red with the green four leaf clover symbol on its side. See that and you know that you are in the presence of greatness. Interesting that this Italian company began in France with some Italian investors (I didn't know that either), but shortly after its inception, it became all Italian.


So why do I say, "Welcome back, Alfa."? This company has never gone, except from our North American shores and now it is coming back, so hence my title. When the name Alfa Romeo really meant something, they produced some beautiful cars and some that were, well interesting. Ones like the famous batmobile.......

 

Nothing a little bit unusual about this car, but lots of really big unusual. Designed back in the '50's, even before the tail fin had reached its zenith in North America. But this was Alfa, standing out from the crowd for a variety of reasons.

Alfa had its heyday and produced some very memorable cars. Seen Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate"? Remember this little red sportscar, he drove to his liaissons with the famous Mrs. Robinson........


Doesn't Dustin look carefree and dashing in his red Italian steed? This became such a favorite with Alfa lovers, that many years later, they introduced an updated version and called it the Graduate. Kind of what Ford eventually did with its Bullitt Mustangs.

Alfa Romeo even named one of their famous cars the Montreal (thank you for thinking of us, Alfa) and showed it as a concept car at Expo 67 (held, of course, in Montreal)..........


Eventually though, Alfa became nothing special in our market.........


.......with the 164 line being the last ones to dribble out of the Alfa dealership's doors in the very early '90's. For years, there has been talk about bringing this famous nameplate back to North America, the second biggest car market in the world. But the car had to be "right" and it had to be in the "right" dealerships. Sure, you could throw it into the Chrysler showrooms along side the Fiat 500. That would have been a recipe for for a quick withdrawal and Fiat knew it.

Ok, so let's test the waters with something extra special........


.......and that would be this one, the 8C Competizione, sold at a very high price (slightly above $250k) and in very limited numbers. Now, about where to sell it? Well, Fiat owns those two other Italian thoroughbreds, Ferrari and Maserati, so there must be room for one more lone model in their showrooms. It worked, but the numbers were so small, as not to prove anything, except maybe the right place from which to sell Alfa Romeo's. Pitch it as premium brand and use salespeople who know this type of clientele.

So one more try with a lower priced, but volume sportscar, the 4C (imaginative name?), which got great reviews and made the Alfa name a little more commonplace. Now here is where the, "Welcome back, Alfa.", line comes in. Sportscars are great, but to really re-establish one needs a volume sedan and earlier this week, it was introduced.......


.......using the famous name, Giulia, this performance model, the QV, will use a Ferrari inspired motor (ask them, not me), putting out around 500 hp. This hot new follow up to their sportscars, will haul its aggressive looking body to 60 mph in a mere 3.9 seconds. Not a bad way to get your name spread around (on a few traffic tickets).

It will be interesting to see whether Alfa Romeo can get enough volume out of the Giulia, to warrant bringing in a fuller line up. And will they stick to performance models or drop a few "tame" cars into their showrooms? Time and Mr. Marchionne will tell.

But for the time being........"Welcome back, Alfa.".

Until next time.......




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