Porsche, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Audi; here and now in 2015, it would be pretty obvious to say that the mid-range sports car segment is... saturated. But two years ago, Alfa Romeo thought they would have a go at cracking one of the toughest segments on the planet.
How Has it Worked Out For Them?
Year-to-date, Alfa Romeo has sold 411 examples of the 4C in the U.S. (according to GoodCarBadCar.net). That figure starts in November of 2014 with 24 sold, and peaks in January of 2015 with 97 sold. All things considered, that’s a relatively decent amount of cars sold for a brand that only two years ago was back on the U.S. market, and only a few years ago was severely struggling. With a starting price of $53,900, the Alfa 4C isn’t the cheapest car in the bunch (you can pick up a Porsche Cayman for the same price with more power). And as we found out first-hand, it isn't the most luxurious either. But something about it draws a very specific buyer: those centered on driving enjoyment over performance.
What’s the Rest of the Segment Look Like?
For Alfa Romeo—it’s not pretty. Being the low volume seller that it is, the 4C has a long ways to go if it ever wants to catch up with the 911 and Corvette (not that it should or will). Chevrolet dropped the mic with 24,237 Corvettes sold in the same timeframe (November 2014 - June 2015), with Porsche following behind at 6,773 911s sold, and the F-Type coming in a respectable third with 2,997 F-Types sold. Heck, let’s throw in the Cayman at 2,150 sold just for good measure. It’s definitely a tough segment, but Alfa is going to be just fine.
As for the future of Alfa and the 4C, it looks bright. With the recent introduction of the Spider variant, and the lovely new Giulia sedan bringing a more mainstream face to the U.S., the 4C could be the halo calling car that brings people into dealerships. It may not be the bang Fiat-Chrysler was hoping for, but the firecracker sized dent in the segment is just the start of a bigger picture for Alfa in the U.S.