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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, December 16, 2016

Dec 16: Alfa Romeo? Who cares?

There he is, the young stud cruising down the highway on his way to the continuation of his illicit affair with the very hot and promiscuous Mrs. Robinson. Not a care in his world, that is until he starts to fall in love with her daughter (see the movie). But let's forget about young lust and love and focus instead on his hot, red Italian ride. Doesn't everyone, at least anyone with an interest in cars, known that Benjamin Braddock's stead is an Alfa Romeo? Its starring role in this film probably gave a spike to Alfa'a sales. This car became such an integral part of the movie, that years later Alfa dubbed their entry level Spider, the Graduate Edition, shortly before pulling up stakes and leaving the North America market to the domestics, the Pacific rim countries and the other European manufacturers. Why did they leave? Simple. Low sales and not the most reliable cars, compared what was available elsewhere. Alfa Romeo? Who cares?

Well somebody cared, because the North American market is huge and the top brass at parent company Fiat was eyeing a return to these fickle shores. They thought, let's get the ball rolling with a high zoot model, that would harken back to Alfa's racing heritage, the Competizione...........

I'm sure there were a few around Toronto, but I've never seen one. Price? If you have to ask (you know that line)........it was about a quarter million US dollars and only a couple of hundred or so ended up over here.

Supposed to wet our appetite for the Alfa brand and make us long for what we no longer had. Now that they had our attention, they brought out a less costly sportscar, the 4c.......

...........which was priced under a $100k. It received reasonable reviews and the testers seemed to like its looks, but I've never figured out why. This one was supposed to set the stage for a full on onslaught of Alfa Romeo branded vehicles, but if the 4c's low sales were any indication, it would be a long, hard road.

But wait, the main event was just about to be introduced, the Giulia, starting with the Quadrifoglio......

......a real balls out sports sedan to compete with the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63, also priced comparably. Impressive? Sure and Alfa will sell a few, but it will be the garden variety version that will have to support the brand, the "normal" Giulia.......

I believe this Giulia will be around the $40-$50k mark. Now, this is where things fall part for me. Sure the slow selling 4c was a good car and the rockin' Quadrifoglio, will attract a few buyers, but really, how many people over here are waiting with baited breath for this brand to reappear and with everyday models? Look at what else is in this price range.......the 3 series, the C Class, the A4, the Q50 and the ATS. Other than a few people with a soft spot for Italian iron, I don't think Alfa has a chance to make the effort worthwhile.

Now, we all know that in North America, the sedan is dying a death of a thousand cuts, as suv's blanket the landscape and Alfa is not blind to this fact. Hence the recent introduction at the LA show of the Stelvio sport ute........

Again a nice vehicle, but up against its numerous competitors, can this vehicle help to make an impact for Alfa? Personally, I doubt it. I just don't see that our countrymen and women have been waiting for Alfa Romeo to reappear and when it does, lining up to be the first on their block. Oops, I'm wrong about that, as there will be a rush of early adopters, but once they have been satisfied, watch out Alfa, as I fear that your showrooms will be empty.

The love affair, that Alfa thinks we have with their brand, is in my opinion, unrequited. The Italians love the brand, love its heritage, love the thought of being behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo.

North Americans, not so much. Alfa is simply a rare Italian confection, that the road testers will fawn over, but the general populace will pass by on their way to the much better known brands.

Doubt what I say? Ok, let's revisit this and check out those sales figures, in about, say, two years. But as I said before, Alfa Romeo? Who cares.

Until next time.......

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