Category: Alfa Romeo

By on February 5, 2018

There’s going to be a lot less Italian in Reid Bigland’s diet going forward, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles removed the Alfa Romeo and Maserati portfolios from the high-ranking executive’s oversight. It’s all part of a broader raft of management changes announced today.

Bigland, quite a star in FCA’s upper echelon, will continue in his existing role as head of U.S. sales and president and CEO of FCA Canada. The executive had the two Italian luxury brands dropped in his lap back in May 2016. Earlier in his career, he headed up the Dodge and Ram brands.

Other changes are afoot as FCA attempts to give Alfa and Maserati the full-time guardian the two brands need in order to thrive. Read More >

By on January 23, 2018

Image: 1973 Alfa Romeo MontrealIn our last Rare Rides entry we had a look at the oddball little BMW Freeclimber, a Daihatsu Rugger as edited by Italian design firm Bertone. Small SUVs has never been Bertone’s forte, however. No, the most well-known Bertone designs fall into the sports coupe category.

And here’s a prime example — the Alfa Romeo Montreal.

Read More >

By on January 2, 2018

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCA

Many years of competing in demolition derbies taught me many things, such as the value of not looking over my shoulder while reversing into someone at a high rate of speed and the importance of a good neck brace. I also learned that while one can substitute other liquids for transmission fluid, braking systems don’t play well with any pollutant that’s not designed to be in there.

Alfa Romeo has also discovered this fact, and is now recalling a total of 307 Giulia sedans and Stelvio crossovers from the 2018 model year for potentially contaminated brake fluid.

Read More >

By on December 21, 2017

More than a few automotive publications have taken possession of an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio for a loan or test, only to have the car sidelined by mechanical or electrical gremlins of one kind of another.

You can see examples here and here.

So it was with some trepidation that I took the keys to a Giulia immediately after returning a Stelvio to my local press-fleet driver. I’d spent a week with one Alfa and had no problems; could I do it twice? Or would I be making the “uhhh lots of warning lights are on, please advise” call to the fleet manager?

Read More >

By on December 19, 2017

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport

A long-running stereotype of Italian cars is that they’re fun to drive and sexy in style, but also flawed and expensive. Not to mention unreliable – and expensive to repair.

Allow me to extend that stereotype to an SUV of Italian descent, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

At first glance, this compact luxury crossover is one of the best-looking out there, one of the few that’s actually attractive to my eye. After a week with it, my opinion of its looks remained the same – it’s a head turner.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. I was picking up lunch at a chain fast-food joint in a local strip mall and a gaggle of teenaged dudes went gaga over the Stelvio. I guess today’s youth have different cars postered on their bedroom wall than I did.

Read More >

By on October 18, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Cassino Italy assembly plant - Image: FCAAlfa Romeo is on track to sell between 130,000 and 140,000 vehicles around the globe in calendar year 2017, a far cry from the 170,000-unit performance Sergio Marchionne expected Alfa to put together.

U.S. sales remain predictably low by the standards of rival brands but are rising quickly now that the Stelvio SUV is in action. But on the other side of the Pacific, new rules that limit automobile manufacturers from forcing dealers to accept stock, Automotive News Europe reports, has sorely limited sales in China. Thus, rather than the 2,666 Alfa Romeo Stelvios shipped to China in July, only 227 landed in China in August.

The result? Alfa Romeo is cutting back production of the Stelvio and Giulia in Cassino, Italy. Read More >

By on October 10, 2017

Dodge Dart Audi A8 rear end - Images: FCA & AudiMy Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan. Read More >

By on August 24, 2017

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass Limited - Image: Jeep

So, a Chinese automobile manufacturer, Great Wall Motors, would totally love it if Fiat Chrysler Automobiles flung the Jeep brand its way. Who wouldn’t? In the mid-1980s, Jeep was the ruby in AMC’s crown, and its new (and highly profitable) Cherokee line had Chrysler Corporation chairman Lee Iacocca salivating at the thought of where he could take the brand if given the chance.

Three decades later and Jeep is FCA’s biggest asset, not just due to current volume, but future volume in untapped markets. CEO Sergio Marchionne wants people the world over to drop what they’re doing and buy a Jeep. Having global Jeep models that are popular in numerous regions would act as a hedge against trouble in, say, North America, where its Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat brands aren’t exactly setting sales charts on fire.

Too big to spin off? Perhaps, but other brands in the FCA fold aren’t nearly as indispensable. With no corporate sugar daddy waiting in the wings with a checkbook, the automaker is reportedly considering spinning off a couple of brands, a new report claims. Read More >

By on August 23, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCAMSRPs aren’t meaningless.

Okay, sometimes they’re meaningless. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price — dealer may sell for less, or more — is just one element of a new vehicle acquisition’s true cost. For most vehicles, the MSRP is just the starting point for negotiations, which won’t truly begin until you have a clear idea of the automaker’s incentive load. Employee pricing. Anniversary bonus. Labor Day credits. Red tag deals. Summer clear out. Memorial Day rebates. July 4th blowouts.

Then there’s the interest rate equation, which will change based on credit, term, and numerous other factors. Next, apply unappetizing dealer fees. And now, if you’re considering leasing, throw another whole set of numbers into this kettle of fish.

Out comes a lease payment for the $73,595 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio that’s nearly double the cost of a BMW M3; a lease payment 77-percent higher than on the Cadillac CTS-V, even though the CTS-V’s MSRP is 17-percent higher.

We urge you: please do not lease an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio until terms change.  Read More >

By on August 8, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCACritics love the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

And they hate it.

American luxury car buyers, however, are increasingly interested. The Alfa Romeo Giulia lineup has been available since the tail end of 2016. And every month, right through the spring and into the summer, stories of breakdowns and limp-home modes and on-track failures had no apparent impact on increased demand.

July 2017 was the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s best month on the U.S. market to date. Read More >

By on July 19, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti black front quarter

There’s a series of curves on my route home that can be an absolute joy when traffic is minimal. Beyond a left-hand kink over a slight rise, the road drops away at least fifty feet in a sweeping right curve and flicks back left at the bottom of the hill to cross a river. It’s not much – maybe a quarter of a mile – but for a few moments, I forget the last nine hours spent driving a desk.

While my usual vehicle for this road is my trusty minivan, a proper driver’s car makes the route much more rewarding. Beyond making me disregard the stress of a day at the office, a good drive can make me briefly ignore the various quirks and idiosyncrasies of the car beneath me.

Quirks and idiosyncrasies — in roughly equal measure with solid driving dynamics —  have been the hallmarks of virtually every Alfa Romeo since at least the Truman administration, meaning the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti has plenty of heritage to live up to. Now that Chrysler is once again part of the Alfa Romeo parentage, will the Imported From Detroit vibe reflect in this imported sports sedan? Or will the Giulia remain, for better or worse, a proper Italian?

Read More >

By on July 13, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti - Image: FCAWe can’t call it The Big Mo. Medium Mo might also be too strong a term.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Alfa Romeo division is beginning to pick up a measure of Giulia sales momentum in the United States. And with the launch of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Alfa’s first utility vehicle, occurring now, we should expect to see major improvements in the third and fourth-quarter of 2017.

But this big medium modest momentum comes as high-profile Alfa Romeo Giulias, the Giulias that land in the hands of the people who tell the world about the Giulia, fail with shocking regularity.

The latest failure? Last night, in the hands of a Jalopnik crew that lived to tell the tale. Read More >

By on June 25, 2017

pfaff-mclaren-mclaren-rally-june-2017-7196

With contributions by Sebastien Bell and Sam McEachern

Mechanics have made their last-minute checks, drivers circulate sur la piste managing tire and brake temperatures, engineers confirm strategies; cars stage on the starting grid, the dissonant cacophony of twenty 1.6-liter V6 hybrid Formula 1 engines spooling reverberates through the grandstands as five red lights illuminate sequentially…

Hosted on Montreal’s Île Notre-Dame since 1978, the Grand Prix Du Canada has always been a special place for the Formula 1 paddock. For decades, drivers have loved the city’s vibrating atmosphere and unbridled passion for the sport, but what they really love is the circuit’s proximity to a devilish downtown core drowning in alcohol and impeccably dressed women.

Why do you think we like it? Read More >

By on June 23, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti - Image: FCA

The Alfa Romeo brand is an odd duck, and not just because of its “exotic” status or its on-again, off-again history in the United States. Italian car fans love it. Design enthusiasts drool over it. Performance enthusiasts and sports sedan traditionalists pine for a finely balanced, twin-turbocharged Giulia Quadrifoglio. Concerned friends warn them that other, perhaps safer options exist. Money lenders with soft hearts try to raise concerns about reliability.

Love it or fear it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has high hopes for the Alfa brand in the U.S. but, unlike FCA boss Sergio Marchionne, top American brass are hesitant to put a number to their hopes. For now, Alfa remains a brand without numerical expectations. And that’s the reason you won’t find incentives heaped on Alfa models in the near future. Read More >

By on June 6, 2017

Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Alfa Romeo’s long-awaited Giulia sports sedan is finally trickling down to U.S. buyers in larger numbers and a performance-oriented Stelvio SUV should arrive this summer. You’d think cautious optimism for the re-introduced brand would be the order of the day. Instead, there’s massive optimism coming from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Stergio Marchionne and nothing but caution from industry analysts.

There’s also plenty of disagreement on how well the two vehicles will sell, and reality is leaning increasingly towards the analysts. Read More >

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