NEXT January, the gain for Alfa dealers’ very public pain arrives: the MiTo hits the streets. The company’s MINI.
But the real action starts much sooner. In November, Car Dealer can reveal, every Alfa Romeo dealer is to get a static MiTo in their showrooms. ‘Customers can oogle, configure and order, for delivery in January,’ said a spokeswoman.
This is being supported by an online ‘MiTo blog’, which the company says is already getting thousands of hits. There will also be a dedicated area on its website, reflecting the ‘hi-tech’ nature of the targeted customers, and other creative innovations as January approaches.
The launch programme, says the spokeswoman, is already underway. Communications to dealers have been defining exactly what the car’s about. Prices and specifications have been released way before launch, enabling whole life cost companies to get all their data in place. Alfa has, thus far, taken its most professional approach yet in launching a car.
It is a long-awaited fillip for Alfa’s hard-beaten retailers. The company is down to less than 50 dealers – who, she says, are ‘ready and waiting’. Could this expand further in 2009, with the MiTo on board? Possibly, but it all depends on the economy. ‘First, we have to warrant more dealers.’
‘For two years, we’ve been restructuring – largely in preparation for MiTo.’ She admits the company wasn’t quite there when it launched the 159. Things weren’t ready. They are, she says, now.
The MiTo ‘means so much’, added the spokeswoman. And the splash will, if it goes to plan, be considerable. Alfa will be on TV. In cinemas. But already, there’s some leftfield creativity at work…
Ford is the official’ James Bond’ car supplier. But what’s not commonly known is that the baddies will be writing a 159 Ti! Alfa therefore has a somewhat unofficial cinema ad, revealing this fact in a smartly concise way.
Alfa dealers have had it hard. Next month, their reward finally comes.
By RICHARD AUCOCK