Alfa Romeo has reduced its sales target for its new supermini the Mito because of the recession.

Nicolas Bernard, Alfa’s former UK marketing director, last summer predicted 8000 sales in 2009, adding that Mito “could get to 9000”. Alfa Romeo has now revised that sales prediction to 6000, according to marketing operations manager Damien Dally.

However, Alfa Romeo’s managing director Christopher Nicol believes the brand is in a strong position overall to cope with the economic downturn because of the plans put into place over the past three years.

“Until September 2008 all our plans were on track and going well, then suddenly all our numbers and targets changed,” said Nicol, speaking at the launch of the Alfa Romeo Mito.

He added: “The next year will be about downsizing and economy, with the Mito we have a car that fits this trend.”

Three years ago Alfa started improving its vehicle quality, its dealer network and cut fast turn business to improve residual values.

“The quality improvements you can see for yourself,” said Nicol. “The network is now 70% new and Cap has given the Mito an RV of 48%, the same as the Mini.”

Dally added that this year Alfa aims to sell 10,500 cars, the majority of which will be Mitos, however later this year sees the introduction of the replacement for the 147, expected to be called 149.

Alfa plans to launch the Mito to the public this Friday, 6 February, with what it calls an ‘internet grab’ – placing a high number of adverts online across a large number of UK websites aimed at 25-35 year-olds. The aim is to be seen by 80% of internet users in that age group on Friday afternoon.