I have been looking at this information and have thought about posting a comment for a while and after post summarising the numbers I thought it was worth commenting on.
Although in theory I have no issues about this post I did think it does mislead people into thinking that there is a bigger issue than there really is, because the figures only show the average mileage or age of the failures, not the average age of the life of a cam belt as there are no allowances made for all of the ones that have made it to the change date of 72,000 miles.
Also there are only 26 actual failures across 3 models - only 9 x 147's 9 x 156 (and that’s over 2 different engines) and the rest (8) GT's. Base on the info from here (Alfa Romeo sales statistics)
the sales of only the 2 models that were available at the time (2007 -2008) where 108,935 units therefore giving a different statistical result.
Now I know that this is not accurate and has little relevance but it does show a different story to the one the headline figures allude to. What we need is the total sales of all three models against the total failures, but that would be hard to achieve as I am sure ARUK would not allow those figures out in the public domain. However, if we use the figures we have and to give a window into what the level of "epidemic" is then we might be somewhere.
If you use the sales figures for the 2 years showing the 2 models only, then the percentage of all failures is only 0.0239%, even if we include the near misses to account for failures that we do not know about then the figure still is only 0.0312%. Think about the figure if you include 9 years of the 156 & 147 and 5 years of the GT
If we then extrapolate the sales figure over the total life of the models to date it is even smaller as the number of sales of all 3 models would be 626,376 [(108,935 / 2 / 2 x 23) I know this cannot be taken as accurate but it does give a more calculated result as I do not have the figures for all, it is worth noting the number of cars that have achieved this level of mileage is not accounted for] and the failure rate would be 0.00415% or 0.00543%.
Is this a problem?
I know a cam belt failure is an emotional thing when it happens especially if this is within the mfrs recommended time limits, but please can we put this into perspective until we have figures that prove something else as we stand a chance of scaring new comers to the brand off and adding to the widely held view that Alfa Romeos are rubbish and unreliable, which in turn effects all of us as owners because it again devalues cars as well as the brand.