SA have their buying habits set. But should we, in some instances, reconsider some of our worst selling cars?
Car reported today on twelve of South Africa's worst selling cars sold in the month of August that cost under R500 000. Mostly, we can see why they have sold so terribly. The Mahindra Xylo does not need words to describe it - only vomit - nor does the Tata Vista need further exploration. The Kia SOUL, quite cool and funky actually, is very expensive for what it is, and the Volvo V40 Cross Country is, well - I'm sure there are only very few human beings older than 95 who buy new cars (7 in August to be exact) and all of those elderly bought a Volvo of course. Although it is good looking and packed with quality, such is the conservative and boring image of Volvo that it still doesn't sell as well as its competitors.
But, in other cases, in the case of the Italians specifically, it is difficult to digest why they sell so few: The Alfa Romeo Giulietta, one exceptionally good and very pretty machine, is the second worst selling car this August under R500k. But why? It is absolutely fantastic and cooler than a Golf, and the Quadrivoglio Verde version seen here - The GTI of Alfa - is an extraordinary rendition of the elusive Italian and packed with character and pace. It is surely the best looking in its class from an artist's perspective, but only two Giuliettas were sold in August. Two!
No doubt, its buyers opted for the German rivals - understandable from a reselling-value point of view in South Africa - but that is precisely the reason why reselling a German is better, because more people buy them. If more bought the Giulietta it would hold its value for longer, so it is the cyclical and habitual nature of South African buyers that keep the Giulietta value-deprived over time. The Giuiletta is not a typical Alfa from a quality point of view - it is better of course - and perhaps it needs another generation to convince the African buyer of its better self.
Until then, if you buy with your soul, as Gusheshe always recommends you do, the Giulietta is as wholesome a purchase as anything else and you will no doubt get a second look by those who drive past who 1, either just don't get it, or 2, do. Those latter nods are the nods you should be looking for in any car because those are the nods who know best.
The worst selling car under 500K this August though is the most surprising...and not, and what it is is the coolest and most obscure of boy racers: The Fiat Abarth 595 or Fiat 500's very sporty and spitty version of itself. One sold in August across South Africa. One! Again, we know that its sales suffer like Alfa does from a value holding perspective, but we actually think that this is one of the cool things about this car. Its rarity. We absolutely love the Abarth and are surprised, rarity-loving aside, that we see far more Polo GTIs and Fiesta STs despite the fact they all share relatively similar racing stats.
Although we love the better selling competitors too, the Abarth, we subjectively feel, is the coolest of the lot from its name to its looks to its exclusivity, to its essence that resonates something of a racing brotherhood that the others don't quite nail. They're cool, but they're not Abarth cool. We equate Mini's John Cooper Works with Abarth - they too are less seen compared to the big sellers, but like Abarth are better to listen to, to own, to speak about at a bar and to say, 'I get it bro. I get it. Sick!'
So, if you're brave enough to own one, you should not for a moment see your sister's Fiat 500 when you see this; you should see an Abarth. A spitting cobra. The one person who bought it in August did and well played to them. They're stupid mad but we love them.