Alfa Romeo in Australia
Australia was Alfa Romeo's first export market after continental Europe. The first Alfas arrived in Australia in the 1920s - 50 Alfas selling through the local distributor between 1922 and 1925. The Alfa Romeo import concession changed hands several times between the 1920s and the 1960s (Harold Lightburn the washing machine manufacturer and racing driver Alec Mildren both had the concesssion during the 1960s) until Alfa opted for direct distribution.
Alfa Romeo went through a tough time in the 1970s and 1980s - it launched the Alfasud which was produced at new factories in the south of Italy. Production was plagued by industrial relations problems and poor finish quality, including a chronic rust issue.
Alfa Romeo was sold to the Fiat group in 1989 but by this time sales in the Australian market had declined markedly and in addition the company had been slow to take advantage of the component export credit scheme to offset import tariffs. Alfa Romeo (along with parent company Fiat) withdrew from the Australian market in 1993 - the last model sold in Australia was the 164. By the late 1990s Fiat, under its chief executive Paolo Cantarella, had reinvigorated both Fiat and Alfa Romeo.
Problems for Fiat
Australian Design Rules a problem?
A major problem for Fiat had been the Australian Design Rules, which had made importing small quantities of cars to Australia uneconomic. Changes to these rules allowed Alfa Romeo to come back to Australia in 1997 with cars built to the UK market specification 'with just a few changes for the local market'.
Ateco Automotive was appointed as the Australian Alfa Romeo concession and re-launched the marque with the Spider and GTV. 1998 saw the arrival of the Alfa 156 and the following year a completely new dealer group was formed to sell the Alfa Romeo range, including the new 166 model.
The Alfa 147 followed in 2001 and with Ateco Alfa sales have increased healthily - 2001 recording a 16% increase on the previous year.
|ACT||-- no data available --|
|SA||-- no data available --|
|VIC||-- no data available --|
all data as at December 2000 except TAS (May 2001) | data in  Mar 2003 estimate from WA car club sources
Facts & Figures and Brief History of Marque
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Information on Alfa Owner Clubs in Australia
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