Alfa Romeo, the company which has the history, following and passion for the brand that other car makers can only dream of and yet still it struggles. Being drip fed cash from FCA to develop and produce new cars it has struggled for so long. However over the last couple of years thanks to the brilliant Giulia and Stelvio it seems to have turned an important corner but the road to recovery is a long hard one as many will tell you, so Alfa Romeo has only just started if you will, to recover what it was and it has lots to overcome yet.
First let’s get it out there, we love the Stelvio and we don’t just mean the all conquering Quadrifoglio version but pretty much each one in the range, there isn’t an SUV out there we would pick over the Stelvio, that includes the Maserati Levante, Range Rover Velar and the popular today dated tomorrow Volvo XC blah blah’s. The Stelvio is the real deal, looks good, gives you what an SUV should but doesn’t feel like an SUV, more like a well tuned estate car if anything and we love it.
Trouble is for Alfa Romeo. not enough people are ditching their hideous looking BMW’s and Audi’s and finding out that the grass really is greener on the Italian side. In the U.S however sales are up with it being pretty much a 55/45 split between the Stelvio and Giulia but in the UK it’s a different story, quite simply it’s down to badge snobbery and a struggling dealer network but we have covered that before – if you missed it (shame on you!), catch up in our blog posts.
What Alfa Romeo needs is a car that makes people want to break down the dealers doors to see it. When you ask many people what they think of when asked about Alfa Romeo they will say Dustin Hoffman’s Spider in the film the Graduate, even now all those decades later it is people’s enduring image of the Alfa brand. That’s actually a good thing, because even though Alfa Romeo has produced some beautiful cars since (and dare we say it, some not as beautiful) it is this image people love and this is what it should give them.
We know the car world has changed since those times, people now want SUV’s more than pretty much anything else, well that’s fine as long as it doesn’t dilute the brand – and the Stelvio hasn’t – give them what they want but you also need to give them what they dream of, what makes them lie awake at night thinking of what they would buy if a half decent win came up on the lottery or if they played Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Clarkson actually knew the answer when you asked the host, you would run like Forest Gump to your nearest Alfa Romeo dealer and buy.
Alfa Romeo needs a new spider. We are not talking the brands Halo car at £100k+ but somewhere above the price of the brilliant little Abarth 124 Spider but less than the Giulia Quadrifoglio (just?!). There are rumours such a car is being developed with a new GTV on the way and then followed by a drop top version well we hope so but wouldn’t it be great if they arrived together or even better the GTV is also a hard top Spider. And it needs to be good looking, the Giulia is and they have pulled it off with the Stelvio but a new Alfa Romeo Spider needs to stop you in it’s path, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and any others elsewhere.
Currently in the middle of January you might think I’m mad wondering what drop top I should consider buying for when those summer days arrive but why not and right now there isn’t much choice, it’s either the afore mentioned Abarth124 Spider (Fiat version is on hold pending a new engine) or stump up six figures for a Maserati. There’s nothing inbetween from the Italians – yes I know you can still buy the 4C but, well I just wouldn’t, mainly because the roof takes so long to sort out winter would be back again.
So there you have it, not only should Alfa Romeo bring back the Spider but there’s a gap in the market for one, so please please please Alfa hurry up Summers coming…