Alfa Boss: Our Customers Don't Want Giant Screens

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

alfa boss our customers don t want giant screens

If you’ve been in a recent model-year vehicle, the number of screens and digital displays can be overwhelming. While they’re becoming prevalent, big screens aren’t for everyone, nor are they for every automaker. Alfa Romeo boss Jean-Philippe Imparato recently told Autocar that his brand’s customers don’t want giant displays and don’t care about all the digital assistance features many new cars come with.

Imparato compared Alfa to Mercedes, whose latest vehicles are available with more than two feet of screen.

“I respect what Mercedes is doing with its digital technology, of course, but my customers aren’t looking for meter-wide infotainment screens in their cars or 200 digital assistance systems to switch on and off.”

Though it might not want enormous screens in its vehicles, Alfa will not move forward tech-free. The automaker said it would keep its more traditional dash design but would supplement it with a large head-up display. The system could project more information on the windshield for driver safety, and the first vehicles to use the tech will land in 2025. 

Alfa Romeo may not be the largest automaker in the U.S., but it’s pushing forward with an ambitious electrification plan that includes super-powerful electric versions of some models. It’s expected to release a new supercar model later this year, and the Tonale crossover is just hitting the streets as Alfa’s first electrified SUV.

[Image: Alfa Romeo]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation
6 of 41 comments
  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jul 19, 2023

    I personally prefer gauges in a nice cluster with some knobs and buttons since they are easier to use and more ergonomic. The screen like the 8.4 UConnect on my Challenger also has manual controls that replicate most of the functions in it. Remember the controversy over the first generation BMW idrive and how awkward it was? A dashboard doesn’t need to look like a display at a Best Buy. Alfa Romeo is being wise here since they’re more of a sporty heritage brand with a cluster that looks traditional.

  • Kwik_Shift Kwik_Shift on Jul 19, 2023

    I'd rather go with a Mazda if/when I end it with Nissan. Subaru was a runner-up.

    • DungBeetle62 DungBeetle62 on Jul 20, 2023

      I knew when I entered the car market last year a 'do everything' screen was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but I think Mazda did a fine job. Big enough to read, a touchscreen when you're parked, controls fall to where your right hand normally goes, and knobs and buttons for HVAC.

      And this from someone who uses a 50" curved widescreen on the desk.

  • CEastwood CEastwood on Jul 20, 2023

    Prediction - Those idiotic huge screens will gradually disappear when they start causing accidents from drivers messing with them and taking their focus off the road . Smart phones are causing that now so the big automakers decide to put a big ugly giant phone screen in the middle of the dash - STUPID !

    • Kwik_Shift Kwik_Shift on Jul 21, 2023

      I'm sure at night, it will still "glow" even thought the screen is off.

  • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Jul 21, 2023

    I get the digital gauge clusters replacing traditional gauges - it can actually be a benefit to have a map and vital information right in front of you instead of 45 degrees to your right, which is why I think Alfa is doing the switch to a LCD gauge panel. And thankfully they've managed to avoid the iPad glued to the dash look - agree with everyone else that it looks so cheap and out of place, like the designers at 4:58PM on a Friday deadline just said "forget it" and slapped it on there in the design phase and it became law. I'll take real buttons and knobs please and leave the screen to display information and change non-vital functions and not control the entire car. Are these going to be able to be fixed in 5-10 years, or will it be so expensive that when a dead screen/CPU takes out the brain of the interior, is the car "totaled?"

    • FreedMike FreedMike on Jul 21, 2023

      The tacked-on screen might actually have a cost advantage. My old A3 had a neat little infotainment screen that would zip in and out of the dash, but when those go bad - and mine was starting to act like it would - the replacement part was about $2500. God only knows what labor would have been.

      Meanwhile, I did a little digging on how much it would cost to replace the iPad "dash" on the Model 3 and it appears to be about $1500 if you're using parts from Tesla, and about $500 if you want to buy a used part on Ebay. Looks like you just remove the old one and plug the new one in.