The story of Alfa Romeo in South Africa is not often a happy one. Gloriously loyal customers, yes, but there aren’t many of them.
Despite Alfa Romeo effectively being in sales ICU for the last few years locally, June saw an amazing turnaround in fortunes for the Italian brand.
Alfa Romeo sales were up 146% month on month, as the brand registered 32 new cars. For Alfa, that’s a lot.
Unpack the model matrix of those sales, and Alfa’s achievement becomes even more amazing. No less than 26 Alfa 4Cs were registered in June. That means that Alfa Romeo outsold Ford’s Mustang in the two-door performance car market. The latter only sold 7 units
It outsold the new BMW Z4 too (12 units).
The 4C has been in production since 2013 and although its carbon-fibre chassis and extremely low kerb weight give it the attributes of an unrivalled driver’s car, they haven’t ever been volume sellers. Not globally, and certainly not in South Africa.
Where did Alfa Romeo suddenly find 26 4C customers?
Perhaps an even better question is: where did they find those 26 4C cars, in the first place?
The 4C is a very mature product in 2019, nearly seven years after its launch.
In Italy, production will be winding-down soon, yet South Africa has now posted perhaps the best global 4C sales/registration month in years?
To give some perspective on how extraordinary Alfa Romeo’s 4C sales numbers were for June, contrast South Africa with the world’s largest sportscar market: America.
In the United States, Alfa only managed to sell nine 4Cs in June.
This means that in a burgeoning economy with record unemployment, Alfa sold 65% fewer of its 4Cs than in a South African market, struggling with low economic growth and struggling employment. What is really going on here?
The possibility exists that Alfa Romeo had radically overestimated demand for its 4C in the past and is sitting on a stockpile of the compact sportscars within its South African business. With the timeline growing between production datelines and warranty maturity, these cars simply have to be registered.
However the scenario which triggered the unprecedented registration of 26 4Cs evolved, this Alfa remains a desirable little car.
One which could produce excellent future value in any discerning collector’s garage.