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Discussion Starter #1
Good news and bad news, we've lost a fairly long standing Alfa Romeo dealer. That's the bad news, but the less bad or slightly better news is that they were never much good anyway. I bought my Giulia from Westover Sports Cars in Poole, finding them enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful, that was about two and a half years ago. They were part of a large group, and around one year ago, the Alfa part was taken from them and sort of installed in another part of the same group in Christchurch, since renamed Hendy, another large group. I say sort of installed, as the setup always seemed rather limited and generally half-hearted to me. After the move, they didn't have any Alfa identification on the building for almost a year, the place was awash with Jeeps, and it was only when I spotted an Alfa grille behind the place that I realised where it was. Service was terrible, they almost never answered their phone, and when I went there seemed amiable enough but far from on top of the job that had been given to them. They bungled my second year service, charging me an extortionate £540, and failing to add enough oil, with the result that the low oil warning appeared as I drove the car away, it took over one litre to bring the level up to the full mark, no explanation or apology. My car had only two fairly minor warranty issues, the first battery showed signs of failure, and it took them over a month to find a replacement. A door seal came apart, which took them three months to sort out. I had a phone follow up from ARUK, and I told them what I thought about the standard of competence etc, and now they've disappeared, given up or possibly lost all FCA brands, no more Alfa, Fiat or Jeep, nothing at all. The Fiat and the Alfa & Jeep places are now empty, and not a word of warning, explanation or apology to any of the customers whose money had sustained them, nothing at all. A couple of months ago I enquired about buying another Giulia, and the salesman, who knew very little about Alfas, just didn't seem to take me seriously, telling me that I was being very foolish in even thinking about changing a car that wasn't even three years old, but his and Hendy's loss.

Now that my closest Alfa dealer is about 90 minutes away, I probably won't replace my lovely Giulia with another one, and my next car is likely to be either a Mercedes or a BMW, both brands with local establishments, and who care about attracting and keeping their customers, lessons have been learned. I'm beginning to wonder if Alfa are thinking about giving up entirely in the UK. Compared to other operators, their performance has been very poor over a lengthy period, and things show no signs of improving. My Giulia has been a constant delight. It's a lovely thing to drive, but with no reasonably competent local dealer, it's doubtful if I'll ever buy another one, Mercedes or BMW, here I come.
 

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That's a real shame. I had nothing but good experiences there with my Chrysler 300c a few years back when I lived up the road. They always went above and beyond with me and actually charged me less many times. How odd..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As you say, it's a real shame, I can believe that they used to be up to scratch at one time, but sadly, even at the beginning, never really once Alfa were planted on them. A shame as under previous owners Westover were there, no complaints at all, especially with their Poole West Quay Road branch who sold me my Giulia. Towards the end, Hendy seemed to operate on very few staff, only two people in the workshop as far as I could see, and the Service Manager either gave up and left, or they gave him the push. A few months before they disappeared, I eventually got through on the phone, and asked to speak to their Service guy. They didn't have anyone, but I was eventually put through to an "acting Alfa" woman at a desk somewhere in Wallisdown, about 10 miles away. I'll be kind and say that she wasn't exactly an expert on Alfa matters. I've no recent experience of other AR dealers except for Meridien about 10 years ago on a 159, and I'd never dream of returning to them, from my experience, a bunch of crooks. My Giulia will be going in the next month or so, and I'm really disappointed that there's no-one reasonably local to buy another one from.

One of my few disappointments with my current car is the very substandard infotainment system, mainly the satnav, which is pathetically poor when compared to current BMW/Mercedes/Audi systems. My satnav tells me that I have an Alfa dealer quite close by in Poole, the dreaded Meridien, who I've already mentioned. They disappeared from Poole at least 10 years ago, losing the franchise to Westover, but no mention of either Westover or Hendy, and yes, I have installed all the updates.
 

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You mean Alistair has gone? He, and the top mechanic were fab. What a loss. Big shout out to the blonde girl who manned the phones as she was very helpful too. Sad to hear this. But saying that, had dealt with Hendy Ford years ago and what a shower they were...


Fish brothers (IIRC) in Swindon were ok when I had my first Alfa.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, Alastair left towards the end of last year, not long before the place closed altogether, if the top mechanic was Mike, him too of course, no idea if they're still in the Hendy group somewhere. Obviously, buth were restricted in what they could say, but both were clearly unenthusiastic about about the new regime. Alastair did tell me that it had become a real struggle to prise needed Fiat and Alfa parts from FCA, and with even more dealers going, I wouldn't be surprised if the longer term plan is for FCA to give up on the UK altogether. I'm still quite friendly with the two guys at Hendy Sports cars, and they told me that Stony Lane is going to be Hendy Toyota.
 

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I enquiried with Meridien about a new Giulietta a few years ago, only over the phone, but they were utterly hopeless and completely disinterested. I've got a feeling they didn't return a call as promised so I went elsewhere. No loss at all in my view. Westover/Hendy Alfa I've no experience of, but their reviews suggested they were variable at best, so again not a huge loss, but frustrating given the number of other Alfa sites which have gone recently.

I assume you're aware but there's Snows Alfa in Southampton, if that's reasonably near? They've been around less time than many Alfa sites, but seem to get decent reports. They seem quite committed to FCA with all the brands in Southampton and Fiat/Abarth in Portsmouth, Sarisbury Green and Isle of Wight.

I don't think FCA are leaving the UK anytime soon, but given a couple of dealers have recently opened or added Jeep but not Alfa (in Cardiff and Chippenham), I do wonder about Alfa leaving the UK.....
 
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