Unfortunately it's just so typical of the Fiat Group right now. Alfa Romeo is their premium brand (Ferrari/Maserati is a separate thing all together) and is the only brand out of Fiat, Lancia and Alfa that is actually doing quite well - Why? Beause they make exciting, affordable cars with an air of prestige. Unfortunately is all a bit hit and miss.
No offence to anyone, I love all Alfas, but... The 147GTA should handle better than it does, it should cream a Golf R32 and a Focus RS on twisty roads, but it doesn't, that's just not good enough. The 156GTA should be a BMW M3 basher, but it isn't quite, the 156GTAm is more like it but they might not make it... What is that all about? Oh, and don't get me started on the Brera, we should have seen it first on an Alfa Romeo stand along with the news of it's imminent release. This worries me.
In order to succeceed in any business you MUST manufacture products that your customer base / desired demographic really want and you need to be there first if you can.Alfa need to listen to their customer base. The GTV is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but who knows that more than anyone else? Current GTV owners of course. If you are going to improve something, do a quick refresh to see the car through, then you need to ask your customers what areas they should improve. Take Aston Martin, the DB7 is getting a bit long in the tooth so they ask their existing DB7 customers what they would like to see improved, generate a wish-list and use it as a blueprint to produce the DB7GT. Okay, we're not driving Astons, but it's a good example all the same.
Lancia started to fall apart at the seams because they started making cars that nobody wanted. They should have stuck to making sexy little coupes and mega hot 4x4 hatchbacks, but no, we got bloated saloons and the Y10 instead, not good enough I'm afraid. Then there's Fiat who made the original Smart Car in 1957 (the 500) and now they make... The Multipla! It took a bunch of Germans to copy an old idea, screw it together properly and steal away Fiat's prime customer base. I was in Italy last year and I saw 1000s and 1000s of bloody Smart cars, not little Fiats, no... Bloody Smart Cars! Ask any motoring journalist and they'll tell you that Fiat's problem is that they stopped making cars people really wanted. The Sciento is ancient and doesn't cut it at all anymore, they didn't replace the Coupe, the Barchetta is another oldtimer, the Punto not clever enough and not as well built as it should be etc etc...
Do we want Alfa to carry on getting sucked into the void that is the Fiat Group? Well if it carries on like this then the end is inevitable and that is really sad.
Please Alfa Romeo - Listen to your customers! A brand that has such a large, loyal, organised and affluent group of enthusiasts and owners behind it shouldn't have a particularly hard time finding existing customers willing to discuss their cars with them for God's sake.
Still, we've got all those lovely uninspiring designs (157 anyone?) and Australian V6 engines to look forward too... Great, lucky us.
Okay, rant over... For now!