That's always been my take with pretty much any second hand car. Regardless of make or model and especially when you are talking about the sort of ages and mileage that most of the cars here on AO are at. I think its especially true with Alfa Romeo's due to how much they depreciate. The fact of the matter is that in little over 15 years the GTV (916) went from being a £20-25k (depending on spec) car for the TS to being able to be had for around £1k today (V6 is slightly different story). You can even get some early model GTV twinnies for much less than £1k. That is 4-5% (and in some cases even less) of the original sale price of the car!
So that straight away gives you questions of reliability. Most people who own a car that is only worth £1-2k aren't going to spend the £400 for a cambelt, £300 for a clutch, £500 on suspension work etc. (numbers are guesstimates) as they are basically spending half the value of their car on a single maintenance item. They just don't see the point. They would rather sell the car for £1k and wash their hands with it and move on to something "more reliable".
Which is when a lot of people on AO come along, snap up one of these cheap, rundown cars, and then whinge about how they need to change this, or change that. That right there is I think what is inherently wrong with a lot of the view of Alfa Romeo. The first owner or 2 usually takes good care of them but after 6 or 7 years they have depreciated to a point where they end up with someone who just doesn't give a stuff. They bought the car because it was relatively cheap, looked nice, and seemed to suit their needs at the time. They're not an Alfa enthusiast, they're just a bloke that saw the car and thought it would be a good buy without truly considering the maintenance requirements of buying a car (irrespective of make) of that sort of age and mileage.
Fast-forward 2 or 3 years in that person's ownership; the car has been serviced once (if at all), there are knocks and thumps and thuds and squeaks coming from every nook and cranny.....then they turn to a forum, to their friends, to their mechanic (who they never visit regularly enough) and complain how they never should have bought an Alfa Romeo. And so the cycle continues.
I think that is Alfa's biggest problem moving forward. Is how to improve their market value and reduce the rate of depreciation as that, in my opinion, is the root cause of a lot of the reliability concerns around the marque. It can be done through a number of ways such as a much improved warranty system, cheaper servicing costs, capped-price services etc. to keep the new models in better condition for longer. But I think for this re-launch of Alfa to truly succeed that will be their biggest issue. It doesn't matter how good their cars are brand new if they suffer from the same perception of being unreliable as most Alfa's have for a VERY long time now. It will just end with Giulias and the likes being in the same position as a lot of 147/156/GTV's are atm. Being thrashed by people who don't care because the servicing costs are almost more expensive than the value of the vehicle.
bang on, and I made exactly the same comments on another ''reliability'' thread a little while ago.
the depreciation means that people do start to skimp on servicing cost earlier in the cars life, going for less regular servicing, stretching intervals and using cheap pattern parts where possible..
whilst it does does explain and excuse SOME of the Alfa foibles it by no means excuses all of them, there are still some unforgivables such as poor undersealing and badly insulated electrics and the cambelt intervals on all of the the 156 and post 156 cars needing downward revision due to early failures regardless of engine type or displacement.
but if you accept that there are basically three reasons for automotive failures...
1) bad design
2) poor manufacturing/construction
3) poor maintenance by the owner
Alfa like all marques suffer from a bit of number one, in more areas than I would like a number 2 (which is annoying because the problems could actually very easily addressed by Alfa with minimal cost)
without doubt the lions share of problems are down to number 3 due to depreciation. (with the exception of electrics,rust proofing and early cambelt failures)
good post vengeance
both ALFADOIT and I have spent good money on low mileage examples in good condition and have both had some unacceptable works carried out given the age and mileages at which these things were required .
we also both have an attitude of preventative maintenance rather than waiting for things to break and are meticulous when it come to maintenance.
so sometimes you just get unlucky......