It’s Not Looking Good For This Once Promising Alfa Romeo Model
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider may be on the chopping block in the wake of poor sales resultsby Kirby Garlitos, on
What was supposed to be one of Alfa Romeo’s most important models has turned into a dud for the Italian automaker. The 4C Spider isn’t doing too well these days and if a report by AutoForecast Solutions is to be believed, the 4C Spider may very well end up being a one-and-done model.
It’s been established Alfa Romeo never thought the 4C Spider would be a sales hit, but even with that realization, the company had hoped that the model would at least make an impression, especially in the U.S. market. Turns out, the only thing the 4C Spider can boast of is that it has sold 11 more models than the Dodge Viper this year (309 to 298). That’s the same Viper that’s going out of production in 2017.
So with little to show for all the time and resourced Alfa Romeo put into developing the 4C Spider, it appears that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is cutting the cord on a possible successor to the model as a way of cutting its own losses in the process. To be fair, FCA has given no indication of its plans for the 4C Spider – or the coupe version – moving forward. The report may end up being true, or it may not. But neither FCA nor Alfa Romeo can’t hide from the fact that from a sales perspective, the 4C Spider has been a massive disappointment.
If FCA ends up sticking with the 4C, it’s going to have a lot of work to do on the model. If it doesn’t, well, it’s back to the drawing board, right? Either way, it’s not a good look for Alfa Romeo, especially at a time when the automaker is hoping to make a new impression in the U.S. market. It hasn’t happened yet for Alfa and the lukewarm reception to the 4C isn’t making it any easier for the company.
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Why it matters
I don’t know how to feel about this report because I’m one of those who actually love the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. I don’t have the disposable income to buy one, but if I did, I would’ve done so a long time ago. But it is what it is, especially if the report turns out to be true.
I was surprised too when I saw the sales numbers. The 4C Spider has sold just 309 models in the first half of 2016, a staggeringly low number for a car that was supposed to jumpstart Alfa Romeo’s return to the American market. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why the car has struggled to gain traction, but it could just as well be a combination of several factors. It could be the lack of enough access to the car. It could be awareness of the brand, or lack thereof, in this case. It could be that Americans just prefer other sports cars, particularly those that have better reputations than the neophyte 4C Spider. It could be a combination of all these things. If it’s that, it doesn’t paint a very good picture for both Alfa Romeo and the 4C as far as its place in the U.S. market is concerned.
But like I said, I’m not prepared to throw the towel on the 4C Spider until there’s actual confirmation from Fiat Chrysler that it’s actually pulling the plug on the model and all subsequent successors, planned or otherwise. It doesn’t look good at the very least, but stranger things have happened in the auto industry. Alfa never expected the model to be a hit, so even with the sales numbers, it could find a way to recalibrate its own expectations as it prepares to launch a successor in 2020. That’s a possible scenario, albeit one that might be more wishful thinking than anything else.
Rest assured, the fate of the 4C Spider and its potential successor is going to be important for Alfa Romeo. All that’s left for us to wait and see Fiat Chrysler’s official stance on the matter. I’d like to hope it’s going to hold strong and keep the model with an eye towards improving the successor. But at this point, given what we know about the lack of attention being paid to the 4C, it’s hard to be optimistic about what lies ahead for a model that many thought was going to be a hit in the U.S. market.
Read our full review on the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider here.