I’ve been to the Fiat & Alfa Romeo dealer here in Madison three times now. The same guy was there every time. This most recent time, he mentioned he’s the only sales guy there, and pointed out his MR2. I saw it last night parked outside the pretty decent brewpub down the street from the dealership.

You may ask: why have I been to the Fiat & Alfa Romeo dealer three times now? Well let me tell you. Last spring when I was helping my wife shop for a car, she was looking for some kind of small awd hatchback or hatchback-equivalent mini crossover.

I did the pre-scouting of many cars and presented her with finalists: the Impreza and the Honda HR-V. Except since we were leasing, and the HR-V was $100/month more than the Impreza even though they had roughly equivalent sticker prices, I looked at other options, and she thought the pictures of the 500X were just oh so cute. So my first two visits to the Fiat/Alfa dealer were the pre-scout test drive where I thought the 500X was kinda crappy but figured I’d let my wife decide for herself, and the follow-up drive with my wife where she also thought it was crappy.

Then we leased a Subaru Impreza from the Subaru store in the same dealership group as the Fiat store. We even saw the Fiat guy randomly pull up to the Subaru store while we were picking up our Impreza. He was driving a second-gen Saturn SL1.

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My return trip to the Fiat/Alfa store, where the same guy was the one and only person there, was to test drive a Fiat 124 Abarth, the end result of which was me discovering that the seats don’t recline enough, and I know all about fitting in Miatas, because I drove one for 4 years. Oh, and he mentioned that he was already selling more Alfa Romeo Giulias than all of the Fiats put together. Which surprised me, because of all the bad press about Giulias breaking all the time, but it’s not like Fiat is selling all that many cars so it’s a pretty low bar to clear. But lo and behold, Giulia sales actually are picking up.

This is the time that he pointed out his MR2, which he mentioned he’s had for a couple decades. I don’t know if he bought it new but he’s certainly had it for a long time.

So when, on my way out of Office Depot to return a crappy headset that didn’t work with my phone, I spotted the rusty old MR2 owned, along with a Saturn SL1, by the the one and only Fiat/Alfa Romeo salesman in Madison, WI, parked outside a brewpub on a Monday night, I couldn’t help feel a bit melancholy on that guy’s behalf. He’s a nice guy. Maybe he should ask if he can go work at the Subaru store. Surely 18+ months is enough time spent at Fiat.