Tag: Italy

By on April 10, 2016

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder, Image: Touring Superleggera

The Italian coachbuilding industry took a massive hit during the latest global recession. Storied marques such as Bertone disappeared into the ether under the crushing pressures of debt and a shifting automotive industry that had become more self-sufficient.

Now, some eight years after the beginning of the recession, the Italian coachbuilding industry is making a fantastic comeback — albeit, at a cost.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

SCMP   28JAN13  CH SMOG

Milan has banned cars in the city limits for six hours each day for the next three days, and Rome has limited car access via odd/even restrictions, all to reduce smog in those cities. This might sound familiar, as Paris did the same thing for a day this past summer as an experiment, and Beijing and Delhi have been banning cars this month too.

Cars aren’t the only scapegoat, however. According to the BBC, a town has banned wood-fired pizza ovens that aren’t equipped with a particulate filter.

(I’m waiting for the bombshell: Papa John’s gets hit by massive fine after emissions defeat device is discovered on a pizza oven.)

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

150624_Alfa-romeo_Giulia-Reveal_01

Alfa Romeo will delay two models critical to that brand’s comeback and will likely miss its ambitious sales target of 400,000 cars by 2018, according to Automotive News.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said a weakened market in China forced the brand to reassess its sales target, which he initially set in 2014.

“I still think that Alfa belongs in China,” Marchionne said last week during the company’s announced third quarter earnings call, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.” (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2015

BMW X3
German transportation authorities said Friday that Volkswagen can’t phone a friend for help, they’re on their own.

“At this point we have no indication of other manufacturers being involved,” a government spokesman, said according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe).

Being the only automaker embroiled in the scandal — for now — means that Volkswagen will have to face alone the wrath from governments tripping over themselves to charge the automaker with just about anything they want. In the U.S., Volkswagen faces a pending congressional inquiry; in France, prosecutors have opened an investigation for “aggravated deception;” in Italy, the government’s antitrust authority has begun an investigation; in Switzerland — you get the idea.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2015

1981 Fiat X19

I like the unusual when it comes to cars — as must be quite clear from the pieces I’ve written over the last few months. However, my current fleet is quite mainstream, consisting of a Chrysler minivan, the wife’s Chevy Trailblazer, and a first-generation Miata. Perhaps that explains my wandering eye.

Over the last couple years, I’ve developed an appreciation for Fiats that is nearly inexplicable, and potentially unhealthy. I’ve even caught myself ogling Yugos in junkyards. I’ve said it before; I’m a sucker for a great exhaust note, and somehow even this single-cam four cylinder sounds amazing.

Rust, of course, is always an issue with anything built in the Seventies. This 1981 Fiat X1/9 isn’t immune, and it appears to have some of the typical surface rot in the sills. The seller claims that the paint is mostly original, so it shouldn’t be hiding anything.

He also says it’s unmolested. I hate that term.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2015

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Exterior-019

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

1.75-liter DOHC I-4, direct injection, turbocharged, CVVT (237 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 258 lbs-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm)

6-speed “Alfa TCT” dual-clutch automatic

24 city/34 highway/28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

28.1 (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Rosso Alfa Red paint, Fascia Stone Protector, HID Headlamps, Carbon Fibre Trim Kit, Convenience Package, Racing Exhaust, Red Calipers, 18/19 Inch Staggered Wheels, Leather Package,

Base Price:
$65,495*
As Tested:

$72,295*

* Prices include $1,595 destination charge.

Up ’til now, if you wanted an Italian, mid-engined, street-legal track roadster made out of exotic materials, you needed to be a one-percenter to afford one. But all that is changing with the relaunch of the “other Italian brand,” Alfa Romeo. For the price of a single black-market organ “donation” you can get your hands on the new 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Unlike Alfa’s last car sold in America — the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione — the 4C Spider is pronounceable, will be available in quantity, and is ostensibly attainable at $53,900 for the coupé and $63,900 for the rag top that we got our hands on.

Like the hardtop 4C, this exotic isn’t an enormous bruiser that’s as wide as Kansas, and it doesn’t have a V12. Instead Alfa opted for a small four-cylinder turbocharged engine and a serious dedication to lightweight construction. In some ways you might call this the Italian Lotus. Until we see the 2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia, FCA’s 3-Series fighter, the 4C and 4C Spider are spearheading the brand’s American reboot.

Is that good or bad?

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

1024px-Peugeot_308_CC_e-HDi_FAP_110_STOP_&_START_Active_(Facelift)_–_Frontansicht,_10._September_2011,_Düsseldorf

Automakers PSA (Peugeot and Citröen) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are most at risk if Greece’s economy fails and the country backs out of the Euro, according to a report by Automotive News.

Analysts say the two automakers have the largest share of southern European markets — including Italy, Spain and Portugal — where the economic impact of a Greek failure could hit the hardest.

Although the automakers have a large share of those markets, its a relatively small portion of their overall sales, the report states.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2015

150624_Alfa-romeo_Giulia-Reveal_02

Today, at the Alfa Romeo Museum near Milan, was the first day for a completely new design language from the fabled Italian automaker. The Alfa Romeo Giulia will also mark the return of the brand to North America for those of us needing a bit more practically than what’s offered by the 4C.

Best of all, the Quadrifoglio will be available right out of the gate with 510 horsepower from its Maserati-derived six-cylinder engine.

(Read More…)

By on May 27, 2015

Lamborghini Urus at Pebble Beach

It’s official: Lamborghini is entering the high-end luxury SUV game with a model set to hit showrooms by 2018.

(Read More…)

By on May 26, 2015

Vespa In Ravenna, Italy Circa August 2011

Like France falling out of love with diesels, Italy is falling out of love with mopeds and scooters due to changing trends.

(Read More…)

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