By on July 18, 2011

Remember when we showed you this leaked Alfa Romeo product plan slide, looked straight into your eyes and swore Alfa Rome would be selling a junior supercar and a compact crossover in the US by the 2012 model year? We were lying. Automotive News [sub] let’s us down gently

Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne still says Alfa, which is owned by Fiat, will make its comeback in late 2012 — which had been the plan since April 2010 — but only for a few units of the limited-edition 4C coupe.

A full return now isn’t scheduled to happen before mid-2013, starting with a compact crossover. The mid-sized Giulia sedan could follow by the end of 2013 at the earliest.

What caused the latest delay? Marchionne has rejected the proposed styling for the [Giulia] sedan three times in the past 18 months.

You decide which bit of news is the worst: that Alfa finds itself lost when it tries to design a D-segment car, or that the hot little 4C is going to be a limited edition deal instead of a 15k-25k units per year, semi-affordable ($60k-ish) little mostro. If forced to choose, I’d argue that the prior challenge is the more difficult and necessary, considering that brand’s past struggles selling larger cars… but of course reasonable minds can disagree. Meanwhile, on a more personal level, I find myself continually amazed at how Alfa’s product plans, like its products themselves, are able to completely attract and repel me from moment to moment. Like so many people who identify “emotion” as a core personality trait, Alfa just can’t seem to have a normal relationship with the people who care about it…

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10 Comments on “Everything You Know About Alfa Romeo Is Wrong...”


  • avatar
    kkop

    I truly don’t understand the fascination with Alfa. Have always looked great in the past, but the quality was horrible.

    Now they don’t even look so great anymore.

    Drove behind what looked like a Giulietta last week in the North Atlanta burbs, and I didn’t even notice it was an Alfa at first. Styling is no more striking that the average Hyundai or Kia.

    Former big three still get roasted for crap quality in the past, but Alfa gets a free pass from many of the crowd here for some reason.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    As my avatar would indicate, I’m an alfisti from way back. My 1995 164Q was one of most distinctive cars of its day. The engine, with its chromed intake runners, caused normal men to swoon with envy.

    Also one of the worst for reliability. The 24-Valve engine was a time bomb. And when it goes off, it’s expensive as only an Italian engine can be.

    Looks, Performance, Soul. All these the 164 Quad had in spades.

    However, I don’t believe Alfa will survive. The market has left them behind. They simply lack the capital and volume to stay alive in the global market.

    The sad fact is that a Hyundai Sonata Turbo has more ponies (as do most minivans) than my 164 did.

    I wish it were different, but I just see no way for Alfa to survive as a volume automaker.

    • 0 avatar
      Morea

      I wish it were different, but I just see no way for Alfa to survive as a volume automaker.

      Nor should it try.

      Alfa needs to go upscale to become more like Aston Martin, Lotus, or Jaguar: backed by a sovereign wealth fund (or other deep pockets) with no car less than $100,000 and some sort of high visibility racing operation.

  • avatar
    Advo

    Is there such a thing as an automobile style, if it’s well executed and priced, that won’t appeal enough to sell decently in the American market?

    There’s the Toyota mainstream look that is criticized for being on the bland side. Honda is either very futuristic or sort of a modern-retro look with the more squared nose of the Accord. Square trucks and SUVs continue to be very popular. Macho sells with the Chrysler 300 and Camaro, while cuter cars like the Mini and, as Fiat projects, their 500 find their audience.

    Maybe Marchionne is trying for a perfect blend that will appeal to both males and females. I don’t know, but I think he wants to find the perfect design that will spectacularly relaunch Italian mainstream back to the U.S. I’d rather he just get on with the products as quickly as possible and give us what is lacking in the market and what Italians are famous for and already know how to do well: add their panache, flair, and sophistication to vehicles sized for America.

  • avatar
    bobman

    The most important thing for Chrysler right now is to get the Dodge compact out. The Alpha can wait. Another few months won’t make any difference. Sergio realizes that the success of the group depends on the success of the US market. He’s on the right track. India, Russia and China are all in development at the moment.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Just make them all look like the Brera… forever.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    This isn’t news. Alfa Romeo promises to re-enter the US market in two years EVERY year! I keep track because I would really like one.

  • avatar
    Manic

    So CEO singlehandedly accepts/rejects designs for new cars? Must be again this one-man-show thing, I don’t believe any other car maker is ran like that. What if he has bad taste -day and disaster like Aztec will be created?

  • avatar
    SP

    Eh, that’s okay. I kind of didn’t believe the plan anyway. Sounded like a lot of fluff.


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