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.
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?
VW and Fiat are in talks regarding a possible sale of Alfa Romeo. The sale of Alfa Romeo to Audi would also include the Pomilgiano assembly plant in Naples, which once made Alfas, but currently produces the Fiat Panda. Magnetti Marelli, Fiat’s famed parts maker, may also be included in the deal, as Fiat looks to raise cash so it can buy the remaining shares of Chrysler off the UAW’s Voluntary Employee Benefits Association. (Read More…)
Back in December, TTAC was invited to a very secret presentation somewhere in Michigan, where an assembled crowd of journalists was shown the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At the time, the car didn’t even have a name. It was called the “KL”. TTAC was shown the base car (shown in the photos) and an upcoming variant that you’ll see next week. When the sheet was pulled back, the murmuring and and hushed chatter that permeated the room immediately ceased. Nobody knew what to make of this new crossover.
“It may require a miracle to pull off the Fiat chief’s latest gambit,” Reuters writes. To get Fiat out of its rut, Sergio Marchionne has a risky plan: “Take his sporty Alfa Romeo brand global with more expensive models and triple its sales volume by 2016 – after years of losses.”
That plan, says Reuters, “represents Fiat’s only real hope of combating a collapse in its home market and breathing new life into idled factories.” What if it turns out as a bust? “Should it fail, and the new cars flop, the company that Italians view as a cornerstone of their economy will have little choice but to put thousands of employees out of work and tip entire communities into turmoil.” (Read More…)