I understand your frustration, I do. I currently own three Italian cars, the GT being the one with the most problems, the one I use everyday.
The other two are faultless. They have to have tyres and such and occasionally one likes to fail the MOT on emissions
(actually quite costly), though it is seventeen years old. You know what teenagers are like
In fact both are seventeen.
It's like this though. I P/X'd a perfect 1996 Honda Accord for a 2002 VW Passat in 2006. That car was one of the worst car purchases I ever made. Sensors for daft things failing, water pump failure, forever leaking and stinking like an old sewer. The leaking became a real issue for the four years I owned it. It was good in many ways but so bad in others. The water leak is down to a design fault by VW, It lasted from 1996-2005 I think. Audi A4, A6, Skoda Superb and VW Passat. In the US it was recalled because there was risk (might have been an incident, not sure, where the bulkhead would fill up and seize the brake servo over time if left unnoticed) of flooding in the cabin, causing damage to the comfort module running at about £800-£1000 to repair.
I replaced that with a Rover 25 after my divorce (low on funds) with the infamous K-series engine, which was superb. I had only had to fit an exhaust on that car. It was cheap and extremely easy to own and run, who'd have thought it?
I then fancied one evening an old Audi A4 (still had the GT) as a Winter car, why not? So bought one. Great car with no problems except that leak
Fixed it eventually. I preferred the Audi to the VW but they were in essence the same car (with a four year age difference, the Audi being older). Just a different experience of the same car.
I believe there are problems with cars, they're quite complex systems after all, especially with all the electrickey on them. Mechanical failures are equally annoying, both the GT and Passat fall into that category (suspension vs leak), however the electricity in the GT is fine.
Design, maintenance and pure bad luck contribute to problem cars but it does not just affect Alfa Romeo
The 996 might cost a few quid to own, the 3.4l engine can fail catastrophically. Course there is a lot of scaremongering going on too. I suspect for every failure there are plenty non failures. That's half the problem though, because you hear about it, when it does go wrong it just emphasizes it.
I don't agree with your thoughts on Alfa being written out. It all depends on what Marchionne does with it of course, but I think it's reputation has improved, the after care service may leave a little to desire (lack of dealers) but should more models become available that will change I'm sure. I think there are far more owners of Alfa in the UK since MiTo and Giulietta than ever, and from owners I generally hear good, which is unusual as most often no-one ever comments on how good a car is