Fiat Punto, not long for this world.
Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda. A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.
Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory. (Read More…)
For the fourth time since 2004 Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is reported to have devised a new plan to revive the Alfa Romeo brand, this one focused on premium vehicles made in Italy for export to the world. Alfa hasn’t made a profit in the nine years since Marchionne took the reigns at Fiat.
Marchionne’s latest plan for Alfa will be based on a new rear wheel drive architecture (with all wheel drive variants) that will be developed by a dedicated group of engineers at Maserati in Modena, headed by Philippe Krieff. Krieff reports directly to Harald Wester, Fiat-Chrysler chief technical officer and CEO of Alfa and Maserati. (Read More…)
Another day, another turnaround strategy from Sergio Marchionne. The plan, which won’t be revealed until April, reportedly includes a rear-wheel drive architecture as a key element, with enough flexibility to be used in everything from Alfa to Dodge vehicles.
I see plenty of Fiat 124 Spiders and Fiat X1/9s in junkyards (and even a couple of Maseratis), but Alfa Romeos are worth a bit more and thus are harder to find. We’ve seen this ’79 Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan and this ’74 Spider in this series, and that’s about it prior to today’s find. (Read More…)
From remarks by Alfa Romeo executives it appears that the Fiat owned brand is going to distinguish itself from competitors by what it doesn’t plan to offer: advanced electronic aids that could possibly interfere with the emotional part of driving enjoyment. Maurizio Consalvo, in charge of product planning for Alfa Romeo was quoted in Autocar as saying, “Customers want a mechanical car with minimal electrical interference.” In addition Alfa Romeo’s head of marketing, Alberto Cavaggioni, said that the brand’s commitment to drivers’ emotional connection to their cars means that it may not offer some advanced safety features like autonomous emergency braking. (Read More…)
When a short news blog item based on a couple of tweets from a Road & Track writer attending the press launch of the Alfa Romeo 4C gets over 150 comments before the end of the working day, it’s quite clear that there’s some interest in the car among our readers. Chris Harris was also at the launch of the 4C and you can watch him get giddy with it in the video above.
According to Road & Track’s twitter feed, the Alfa Romeo 4c, which the magazine is test driving, will arrive in the United States sometime in the second quarter of 2014 and will have a base price of $54,000. So far R&T reports that on the street the 4C has a very Ferrariesque character, while on the track not so much but that it’s still very fast. At that price it will compete with the Porsche Cayman, though with an annual production of less than 3,000 units planned, it’s safe to assume that some dealers may add on something to the price.
Post-bankruptcy Chrysler’s product plans have had more episodic changes than the Star Wars franchise, and Automotive News has the latest dirt on what’s going on at Auburn Hills.
If you read the title and mouthed “everything,” I can’t blame you, but please bear with me. What can Alfa Romeo, the Italian former racing marque and the assumed quintessence of automotive passion, emotion, and physical beauty, learn from McLaren, the English Formula One mainstay and sometime purveyor of clinical, efficient supercars? The two companies represent quite divergent poles along the automotive landscape, but they have much in common, both historically and in the present day, particularly in the North American market.
All it took was one little article in CAR magazine for the auto blogosphere to light up with a million different re-purposed versions of the same report. And what a joyous bit of news it is; Alfa Romeo is going to be rear-drive only from now on.
We decided to run the piece because it comes from Georg Kacher, a respected journalist who is known for having his finger on the pulse of the industry. If he says Alfa is planning to move to rear drive platforms, they probably are. But the big problem is that they are planning it. Nobody said anything about actually doing it.
The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.
With the new Dodge Dart and now the latest Jeep Cherokee being based on its platform, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta has quickly risen to the attention of American car enthusiasts. As a product of a famed Italian company, festooned with racing successes and iconic car designs, it’s exactly the kind of car for which many of them were hoping. A sophisticated, lithe machine, using the latest clever technologies and designed by sharp-dressed men drinking small but deadly espressos. Certainly much better than the average plasticky American vehicle, indifferently conceived by a bunch of accountants. But is it? Are modern day Alfas still those beautiful machines with inimitable character, like they used to be? Or are the Alfas of yore just a distant memory and the company itself another victim of globalization and unification?
The perpetual promise of Alfa Romeo’s return to North America has gone on for so long, it’s become the car guy equivalent of a religious belief that one day, we will be redeemed by Christ/Mashiach/The 12th Imam. Every year, we hear that Alfa is coming, only for it to be pushed back again and again. Now I’m wondering, why bother?
We all knew that the Alfa Romeo 4C was going to be light, but the recently announced
curb (looks like it’s the dry weight) weight of 1969 lbs is unprecedentedly svelte in this era. That’s the same weight as a Lotus Elise or a Volkswagen Up! That 237 horsepower turbo 4-cylinder doesn’t seem so puny anymore, does it?
Despite sales of the Fiat 500 picking up, Fiat dealers are getting antsy for new product, with some showrooms struggling to turn a profit based on sales of the subcompact alone.