By on March 11, 2019

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler is recalling around 60,000 Alfa Romeo models on the global stage to prevent the adaptive cruise control system from taking owners on an unwanted ride.

The recall covers the entire lifespan of the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV (2017-2019). Due to a software error, the cruise system in those models could continue operating, and even accelerate, after the driver taps the brake.

Because of the issue, FCA advises owners to hold off on using the system until technicians have their way with the vehicle. There are no accidents or injuries reported as a result of the fault.

Recall notices should reach owners next month, at which time technicians will update the vehicle’s brake software free of charge. While tapping the brake might not cause the adaptive cruise system to disengage, prolonged brake pedal application will do the trick, FCA claims.

According to an FCA spokesperson who spoke to RoadShow, the fault was discovered by a company employee. The circumstances that could lead to a runaway Alfa are very exact; under such circumstances, the vehicle may accelerate above the set speed.

This isn’t the first time FCA vehicles have been bedevilled by a faulty cruise control system. Last May, the automaker recalled more than 4.8 million vehicles to fix a system that might not disengage at all, regardless of brake application. It recalled a smaller number of rear-drive cars the following month.

In that recall, a short circuit was the culprit, with the only real-world incident involving a rental Dodge Journey owned by Avis. FCA subsequently bought the vehicle. To prevent  freeway terror, the automaker advised drivers with a “stuck” cruise control system to apply firm brake pressure, shift into neutral, and pull over.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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22 Comments on “Alfa Romeos Recalled for Cruise Control Fault...”

  • avatar

    Giulia quadrifoglio – one of the few new cars that I truly lust after…I wonder how much of a nightmare they are to own after a year or two?

    • 0 avatar

      There recently was not one but two Quadrifoglios on eBay that were lemon buy backs. So I imagine not good?

      You might want to wait if you can. I think like most performance cars currently on the market, they’re going to depreciate like they’re haunted by a demonic poltergeist (and in the case of the object of your affection that will be literal). So you’ll be able to get a very good deal in a few years.

      There’s a nice 2017 white one on eBay now that’s already depreciated $25,000 off the original MSRP – and that’s just the asking price.

      I’m going to wait three years and get a Civic Type R for this reason. That’s the way to do it. This is a dying segment and dealers will be begging people to take these things in a few years, especially an ultra luxury car with a reputation for not so hot reliability like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. If I had to guess, you’ll be looking at 20 grand or less.

    • 0 avatar

      The quad owners on the Alfa boards don’t report all that many issues, but (i) few of them track their cars and (ii) most of them use the quad as a third car rather than an everyday commuter, so they probably don’t have an opportunity to.

      My Giulia (Q4 Ti Lusso) had one major electrical gremlin and this will be its third recall (the first two were handled in the one-year service), so it hasn’t been smooth sailing, but then, nor has my sailboat, and I still love them both.

      • 0 avatar

        To make myself more clear, I think we will see somewhat of a repeat of the 1973-74 era, when you could get a 4 year old GTO for $900. That translates to about $4,600 today to show how crazy it was. Only instead of running from V-8s because of high oil prices and 55 mph speed limits, you’ll see people running from passenger cars to get into CUVs. And maybe even a bad economy and high gas taxes if we vote Democrats in in 2020.

        Not saying prices will fall down to $4,600 but I think they will drop substantially from where they are. So why pay like $55,000 for something that you’ll be able to get for less than 20 grand in a couple years?

  • avatar

    An Italian car with electrical faults?

    NO… Perish the thought.

  • avatar

    Any machine can malfunction.

    How many of us have had plain old vacuum cruise control mishaps? I sure have! I’ve had phantom throttle-blips and engine run-a-ways on every combination of gas/diesel/auto/manual/euro/asian/north american– you name it.

    A car is a complex assemblage of kinetic sculpture, and– governing those processes successfully can be difficult. That any car exists is an achievement of the highest order– let-alone that they do what we ask of them as reliably as they do.

    • 0 avatar

      “That any car exists is an achievement of the highest order”

      Completely agree. I especially like the achievement of cars that don’t speed you up when you need to slow your ass down, pronto.

    • 0 avatar


      “That any car exists is an achievement of the highest order– let-alone that they do what we ask of them as reliably as they do.”

      Completely agreed. I am still looking with amazement at the valve springs out of my riding mower… they move at what – 30 times per second? – every minute I’m using the machine – for the last 17 years (and would have gone longer). Set the valve spring next to a paperclip and ask most people if there is any difference…

      I’m also in awe of the production processes and supply chain that brought me their replacements so quickly and cheaply.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s what few in academia and government grasp about newly industrialized countries however wealthy at present: the infrastructure and traditions for nationwide technical competence take decades if not centuries to grow.

        Just because a few Pacific Rim megalopoli are crazy rich (while their boonies still spread “night soil”) it doesn’t mean they can do anything but outright buy technical competence from older industrial societies.

        Even Japan with its earlier start in the game never developed a maintenance culture as its nuke stations have most conspicuously proven.

  • avatar

    As much as we like to rag on Tesla, this seems like the perfect example of a small software update that could be pushed out “over the air” and be resolved quickly and quietly. I look to see many manufacturers start to incorporate this functionality as time passes.

    • 0 avatar


      Agreed on how Tesla might handle this. Agreed that some ‘traditional’ OEM’s might move to this approach – at the same time I’m very afraid of how some of their implementations of “over the air” updates might look…

  • avatar

    Anybody using cruise control on an Alfa Romeo deserves whatever happens.

  • avatar

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

  • avatar

    Seems to me that anything that helps an Alfa keep going ought to be celebrated.

  • avatar

    This is big news – Fiat has sold 60,000 Alfa Romeos?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    These cars have drive-by-wire brakes.

    My first experience with that was a test drive of a Stelvio, and the brake behavior was weird and unpredictable. Sometimes they would grab, another time the car didn’t stop until the middle of the intersection. The salesman told me they were ‘electric’ brakes, but I didn’t believe him at the time. I think he meant that the brake pedal sends an electrical signal to the hydraulic system.

    Frankly, I found them to be a bit scary. So I’m not surprised there’s a problem with the cruise control.

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