Off with its head they say as the 4C rolls off to the guillotine

The Alfa Romeo 4C was the sports car that marked the Italian company’s return to the U.S. after many years. But, as Alfa Romeo’s sales plummet and FCA starts to cut back, the 4C Spider has been canceled - just like the standard 4C at the end of 2018. Alfa Romeo has already stopped production, so the only 4Cs available as of November 2019 are those left in dealer inventories. So, if you want one, you better hurry up and get it.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Has Been Cancelled After Just 6 Years on the Market

As FCA Skins Alfa Romeo to the Bones, The 4C Is the First to be Discontinued High Resolution Exterior
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The 4C was launched back in 2013 in coupe form, while the Spider version was introduced in 2015. The nameplate marked Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States when it debuted at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

The 4C was met with tremendous enthusiasm globally and quickly became a solid competitor for small sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster and the Lotus Elise and Exige.

Tipping the scales at only 1,973 pounds in its lightest version and powered by a tiny 1.75-liter four-cylinder rated at 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the 4C established itself as a potent race car for the road. Its 0-to-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds and top speed of 160 mph added to its credentials.

On the flipside, the 4C carried over unchanged until 2019. That’s six years without any upgrades whatsoever, years during which both Porsche and Lotus updated their offerings. The 4C started to get a bit long in the tooth on the performance front, needing more than a mild facelift. It just wasn’t in Alfa’s budget, though, and the coupe version was discontinued at the end of 2018, while the Spider went out of production in November 2019.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Just Wasn’t Worth It

As FCA Skins Alfa Romeo to the Bones, The 4C Is the First to be Discontinued High Resolution Exterior
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Alfa Romeo killed the 4C for the same reason that many carmakers discontinue seemingly cool cars: it wasn't selling very well.

In the U.S. Alfa Romeo only sold 1,890 examples of the 4C from 2014-2018. In Europe, Alfa moved just 4,477 examples from 2014-2018. Between both markets, Alfa Romeo hasn’t even moved 330 examples (just 327 to be exact) for the entire year of 2019.So, the company didn’t even sell 7,000 examples of the 4C between the U.S. and Europe over the course of nearly six years.

Alfa Romeo 4C Sales 2014-2019
European Sales U.S. Sales
So far in 2019 196 127
2018 421 238
2017 871 406
2016 1179 492
2015 1047 663
2014 959 91
Total 4673 2017

As you can imagine, the profit margin on the 4C was likely very small or even non-existent, and it didn’t make sense for a struggling company to keep it in the lineup. A second-generation model didn’t make sense either, as it would have been too expensive for the brand. While Alfa Romeo is doing a bit better thanks to the Giulia and the Stelvio, it’s still struggling to survive.

As FCA Skins Alfa Romeo to the Bones, The 4C Is the First to be Discontinued High Resolution Exterior
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The Giulietta needs a replacement really bad, while the second SUV, the Tonale, won’t be here until 2021. Until the Tonale arrives and Alfa Romeo enters a few more segments, a car like the 4C isn’t feasible. An FCA - PSA merger might enable the Italian firm to enter new car and crossover segments thanks to shared platforms, but it will be years before the deal is completely ironed out. It will take even longer for Alfa Romeo to become profitable enough to build a successor to the 4C. And, that’s assuming that Alfa Romeo isn’t sold off or shut down altogether.

Note: Sales figures in the charts above were obtained from Car Sales Base

Source: Motor 1

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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