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Alfa Romeo and Fiat: Ciao Down

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo and Fiat: Ciao Down

Our article on the closure of Alfa Romeo Fiat of Dallas, which was posted on 9/29, prompted this response. The author, a longtime Alfa enthusiast and owner, wishes to remain anonymous. We could tell you, but then we’d have to cut off your horse’s head and put it in your bed. While you’re asleep…

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I couldn’t resist replying to the txGarage article on the Alfa Romeo Fiat of Dallas closure. I have strong opinions on this subject, having been a member of the local Alfa Romeo chapter when we had at least 100 members and went places and did things. The following may sound harsh, but here it is…

FIAT is not going to find a market in this country until this country gets less country, and that’s going to take a while; we are a relatively adolescent nation without easy access to higher education, and many Americans have never been exposed to other continents. The mainstream majority, with a limited frame of reference and a small income, have resorted to rejecting anything that originated outside of the United States. This would include vehicles that do not meet the current American automotive aesthetic… big, mean and ugly. So we have pickup trucks, which are intended to carry anything that is too big to ride in a passenger car, driven to work in the city by people wearing cowboy boots to offices. And then we have Sport Ubiquitous Vehicles, most of which never drive over anything more challenging than a speed bump. Meanwhile, my relatives in New Mexico – who have lived on cattle ranches for many generations – drive through the desert to and from the ranch house in a Cadillac. They only use trucks to haul cattle and a Jeep to drive out on the range.

I am surprised that Bentley, Aston, and Rolls are doing so well, but maybe it’s because those names are more familiar and entrenched in America as symbols of luxury to the smaller market segments of old money and the nouveau riche. Everyone knows the name (and price) of Ferrari as a single-purpose sports car, so it is also an entrenched symbol of speed and status. Alfa Romeo has tried to be more utilitarian while never losing their sporting nature; personally, I think it’s succeeded. I wish Alfa had brought over its estate wagon – I really thought that would sell; the little Volvo wagon that ran in the European touring car competition did OK.

Years ago, at an Alfa Romeo convention, Jay Lamb began his speech with “the sheep are still grazing in SUVS”. Well, it looks – years later – like they still are. I continue to love my Alfa and it was my everyday commuter car – back in the day when you could reach 100 mph going over I-30 in downtown Dallas. I don’t think the Type 75 (Milano – ed.) gets enough respect, but believe it will sometime in the future. I remember saying goodbye to Alfa Romeo once before, and it looks like we may be saying goodbye again…and this before they actually had a chance to arrive.

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