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Alfa Romeo MiTo slips away
MiTo hatch discontinued in Australia as Alfa Romeo plans for rear-drive future
4 Feb 2016
ALFA ROMEO'S MiTo light hatch has quietly slipped off the company's roster in Australia as the Italian car-maker pushes ahead with its strategy to become a more premium brand.
The fate of the MiTo was sealed in May 2014 when parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a new five-year growth plan that included a shift back to rear- and all-wheel-drive models for Alfa, but the company did not give a time-frame for when it would phase out the MiTo and the existing front-drive Giulietta hatch.
Alfa Romeo's Australian consumer website only shows the 4C sportscar, Giulietta hatch and the upcoming Giulia sedan, with the MiTo now gone.
It is unclear if Alfa Romeo has stopped MiTo production at its Turin, Italy, plant.
FCA Australia senior manager of PR and communications Andrew Chesterton told GoAuto that the MiTo was in run-out mode in the last quarter of 2015 and that there was now only a small amount of stock left in Australia.
Mr Chesterton also said the focus was now on Alfa's future model roll out.
"The Alfa Romeo MiTo played an important role for us locally, but FCA's global plans for Alfa Romeo have been laid out in full, and our focus in Australia is on new and incoming product, spearheaded by the Giulia, which will join the recently launched 4C, 4C Spider and the Giulietta," he said.
"This will now see the Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships with full showroom displays, equipped with our entire range of vehicles, including the new Fiat 500, 500X, Abarth and Freemont, and the soon-to-arrive 124 Spider, encouraging favourable throughput for our dealers."Just four MiTos found homes in Australia last month. In 2015, Alfa sold 156 units, a 32.2 per cent dip over the 230 it sold in 2014.
The MiTo – which shared its underpinnings with the Fiat Punto and the previous-generation Opel Corsa – was launched in 2009 when Alfa Romeo was distributed in Australia by Ateco Automotive, with sales sitting between 160 and 260 per year for the first few years on sale.
It had its best year in 2013, recording 352 sales on the back of huge price cuts to the range after FCA Australia took over distribution rights for the brand.
Before that, the MiTo started north of $30,000, but the realignment brought the entry price down to $25,000, while nearly $8000 was cut from the mid-spec version.
More recently, the MiTo was offered from $22,500 plus on-roads for the base Progression and topped out at $32,000 for the sporty QV.
An updated version of the MiTo landed in Australia in early 2014 followed by the warmed-over QV version in September of that year.
The loss of the MiTo means Alfa is a two-model marque in Australia at the moment, with the Giulietta and the niche 4C its only offerings until the arrival of the Giulia sedan later in the year.
FCA Australia's American brands, Dodge and Chrysler, are one-model marques, with the Journey and 300 their respective sole offerings.
Last week FCA announced an update to its global five-year plan, with the company pulling back investment in Alfa Romeo research and development, manufacturing and new product between now and 2018.
Confirmed it would slow its planned product roll out, FCA blamed the uncertain Chinese market and a need to plan properly for world sales channels.
The future product plan still includes seven new rear-drive models that will follow the Giulia, including an SUV within 12 months, a large sports sedan, another two SUVs and a hatchback.
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