Skip to main content

Home  VIVA 2013  Newsletter  Contact Us  History  Calendar  News  Links  For Sale  Tech Info  Shows  CCN  Simeone  SAE  Privacy Policy   

 

                                   

Greetings Alfisti,

 

Sorry for the late notice!

 

Our monthly get-together will be happening this Saturday, April 19th at 6:00p.m.  The meeting place will be at one of our favorites, Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen, 2203 Aloma Avenue in Winter Park 32792.

 

As always we will be meeting in the private Napoleon Room for some fantastic Cajun food and Alfa camaraderie.  Attached is a menu from Tibby's to aid in gastronomic selection.

 

The restaurant is approximately one  mile west of Semoran Blvd. (SR 436) and 1/2 mile east of Lakemont Avenue, on the west side of Aloma Avenue.

 

We look forward to seeing you there on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m.!

 

Ciao,

 

Barry Mann

 

 

 

 

Alfa Romeo leans on Ferrari for horsepower in brand's overhaulAutomotive News Europe | March 27, 2014 12:08 CET

MILAN (Bloomberg) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is turning to the cachet and horsepower of Ferrari as part of its latest effort to transform struggling Alfa Romeo into a profit machine.

Fiat plans to develop a new line of rear-wheel-drive sedans and SUVs to bolster Alfa Romeo and take on carmakers like BMW Group, people familiar with the matter said. The models will start to hit the market in 2016, and high-end versions will be equipped with engines developed by sister brand Ferrari, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to turnaround Alfa Romeo has been in the planning for some time. Since the executive took the reins at Fiat in 2004, Alfa Romeo's annual deliveries tumbled 56 percent to 74,000 cars. In 2012, he scaled back a sales target for the Italian nameplate by 40 percent as promised models were delayed by a spending halt in Europe.

Now, with auto demand in the region recovering and Fiat armed with more resources thanks to the takeover of Chrysler, it may be now or never for the sporty brand.

"This is the last chance for Alfa Romeo," said Giuseppe Berta, a professor at Bocconi University and the former head of Fiat's archives. "Marchionne's bet is a long shot. To beat the German premium brands, he needs to make Alfa unique. His best chance is Ferrari engines and Italian design."

Ditching MiTo

Fiat is considering ditching the current versions of Alfa Romeo's MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks, which accounted for 99 percent of sales last year, under the plan, which is still being finalized, the people said. The relaunch of the Italian brand, which became a cultural icon with the 1960s film "The Graduate," will be boosted by selling cars through Jeep's international dealer network, widening Alfa's reach, they said.

Fiat declined to comment on Alfa Romeo's past performance and future development plans. The carmaker will unveil its plans for Alfa Romeo in May as part of a Detroit presentation of the strategy for FCA, formed from the recent merger of Fiat Group and Chrysler.

The revival of Alfa Romeo is key to Marchionne's plans for the merged carmaker. With allure stemming from classics like the iconic Duetto spider of the 1960s, Alfa has the potential to help drive profit for the group, in the same way that Audi does at Volkswagen Group, by commanding higher prices than mass-market models bearing the Chrysler, Dodge or Fiat badges.

Audi, the BMW brand and Mercedes-Benz, which have benefited from a rebound in the United States and growing demand in China, have all posted global sales records in recent years, bolstering their parent companies' earnings with higher profit.

Six Alfas

The target is to roll out at least six new Alfas in the next five years, including two SUVs, to boost sales more than fourfold to 300,000 cars over that time frame, the people said. The underpinnings of the cars will also be used in Chrysler vehicles to spread development costs, they said.

Alfa's relaunch has to some degree already started with the 4C sports car, which went on sale last year in Europe and will make its U.S. debut at the New York auto show next month. The first model in the new push will be a mid-sized sedan that may be called Giulia, reviving a model name from the 1960s. "This is long overdue," said Roberto Ferrari, head of the Alfa Romeo dealer association in Italy. "We've been waiting for years for a clear and definitive strategy for the brand and a full lineup of products."

Jeep showrooms

To broaden its reach, Fiat plans to sell Alfa Romeo models through Jeep's 1,700 dealers outside North America, giving it a distribution network that better competes with BMW's 3,200 sales outlets worldwide, the people said.

Last year, 90 percent of Alfas were sold in Europe. The move is based on the idea that both brands appeal to consumers seeking alternatives to mainstream competitors and can co-exist because there's little potential that Jeep SUVs and performance-oriented Alfa Romeo cars cannibalize each other.

"The strategy to mix SUVs and sporty sedans in the same showroom makes sense," said Ian Fletcher, an analyst with market researcher IHS Automotive in London. "But success can't be taken for granted." The new models and the linkup with Jeep and Ferrari may not be quite enough.

IHS forecasts Alfa Romeo sales peaking in 2017 at 243,000 cars, 19 percent below Marchionne's goal. Still, that would be triple last year's sales and the highest deliveries in more than 10 years.

Unused capacity

The growth would help fill unused capacity at Fiat's Italian factories, a primary source of the manufacturer's losses in Europe of 520 million euros last year. Marchionne expects Alfa Romeo to anchor his strategy to build upscale cars in Italy for export worldwide to return to profit in the region. The new Giulia will be assembled at Fiat's Cassino factory near Rome, said the people. The engines, versions of the V6 powertrains Ferrari developed for Fiat's exclusive Maserati brand and adapted by Fiat engineers, will likely be produced at sites in Pratola Serra or Termoli in southern Italy, said the people.

"Alfa Romeos have to be produced in Italy with an Italian powertrain," Marchionne said this month at the Geneva auto show, where the brand debuted the spider version of the 4C. "Some things belong to a place, and Alfa belongs to Italy."

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140327/ANE/140329897&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.


Fiat plans seven new Alfa models by 2018, report says
Automotive News Europe | March 22, 2014 10:53 CET

FRANKFURT/MILAN (Reuters) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will unveil seven new Alfa Romeo models and push to increase sales of the sports car brand fivefold, a report said.

Alfa plans to release a convertible Spider by 2016, followed by the sedan and wagon versions of the Giulia and Alfetta models in 2017 and 2018, respectively, Germany's AutoBild magazine reported Friday.

The Giulia sedan will compete with the BMW 3 series, while the Alfetta sedan would rival the BMW 5 series.

The pipeline also includes two crossover sport utility vehicles, a compact version and a larger one, which will come to the market in 2017 and 2018, respectively, the magazine said.

Alfa is developing a new rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive architecture for its new models, Automotive News Europe reported in December. The architecture is code-named Giorgio, according to ANE sources.

The MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks, which front-wheel drive, will not get replacements as previously anticipated, AutoBild said.

The relaunch of the 104-year-old Alfa Romeo brand, along with luxury Maseratis, is a key part of the group's plans to return to profit in Europe by 2016. Both Alfas and Maseratis will be produced in Italy, Fiat has said.

Fiat aims for Alfa sales of at least 500,000 vehicles a year compared with around 100,000 sold last year, AutoBild said. It did not mention a timeframe.

Fiat declined to comment. It is due to unveil a new industrial plan, outlining investments and new models the group will pursue over the next three years, on May 6.

CEO Sergio Marchionne is betting on the sporty Alfa brand because he believes it can deliver the global profile that his mass-market Fiat brand cannot and far greater sales volumes than top-end Maseratis, but the strategy has so far been met with skepticism.

Fiat acquired the Alfa brand in 1986, but has since failed to reinvigorate it despite repeated attempts. Ambitious plans to boost sales to half a million by 2014 have been gradually scaled back, partly because the auto market in Europe was hit by a six-year long slump in sales, leaving Alfa with a weak reputation for quality and just three models.

The recently launched Alfa Romeo 4C coupe was well received, however.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

The Alfa 4C coupe (shown) will be joined by new rwd models to boost the flagging brand.

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140322/ANE/140329957&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.

Alfa unlikely to get Mazda-made roadster, sources say

Fiat looks to add car to another brand in family

Luca Ciferri RSS feed
Automotive News Europe | March 3, 2014 06:01 CET

Fiat or its Abarth performance subbrand are likely to get a roadster from Mazda instead of Alfa Romeo, sources say.

Fiat and Mazda product planners plan to meet soon to discuss the potential badge change for the MX-5-based two-seat car, the sources added.

Alfa, which will debut a concept version of its planned 4C convertible at the Geneva auto show on Tuesday, was supposed to get the Japan-build roadster at the start of next year.

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, however, put that plan in doubt when he told the Financial Times last September that there won't be any Alfas built outside of Italy as long as he is boss. Marchionne plans to stay at Fiat-Chrysler until at least 2017.

Marchionne reconfirmed at the Detroit auto show in January that no Alfas will be built outside Italy, but declined to discuss the future of the roadster that Mazda is supposed to make for Alfa.

He said more details about future Fiat Group products would be revealed in early May.

The sources say that Fiat's product planners in Turin are looking for ways to fulfill the terms of their supply contract with Mazda because walking away from the deal would be extremely expensive, something Fiat wants to avoid as it aims to return to profit in Europe by 2016 after posting heavy losses in the region last year.

The sources didn't say which other brand is the most likely to add the roadster. Fiat's other near-premium brand, Lancia, is not in contention for the car because Marchionne has decided to reduce the 108-year-old marque to a one-model brand, the Ypsilon, that only is sold in Italy. Lancia will be discontinued outside its home market starting this year.

The planned 1.4-liter turbo-gasoline roadster probably would be too small and underpowered for supercar brands Ferrari and Maserati. That leaves the Fiat brand and Abarth.

"Abarth really makes sense for a lightweight, small displacement, high-output two-seat roadster, which perfectly fits the brand's DNA," one of the sources said.

During previous discussions about the Alfa-Mazda roadster, Fiat said that the car would be an heir to the legendary Duetto Spider driven by Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate." Mazda will build the roadster at its factory in Hiroshima.

 

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140303/ANE/140309997&template=printartANE
Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante returns to Geneva, this time in green and gold

Touring Superleggera's Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione-based coupe is built to order

Jay Ramey 11:32 am, March 3, 2014

Just about everyone loved the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring Superleggera that debuted at the 2012 edition of the Geneva motor show. The curvy coupe channeled the design of Alfa Romeos of the 1960s, namely the Alfa Romeo 2000 and 2600 penned by Touring, while appearing modern at the same time. The concept, finished in red at the time, drew praise for its good looks, enough to make just about everyone forget what sort of monster lived under that svelte bodywork: the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, powered by a 4.7-liter 450-hp V8 good for a 0 to 60 sprint of 4.2 seconds.

Admittedly, Touring Superleggera could have looked for one of Alfa Romeo's milder platforms when it came to finding a chassis for this coachbuilt limited production coupe, but the carrozzeria chose the hottest platform that Alfa Romeo had on offer to lend the car a pedigree which would assure that its performance would remain up to date for quite some time.

And it appears that Touring isn't about to let this design rest, which is fine with us. They're bringing a slightly tweaked version to this year's Geneva show, one that was likely built for an actual customer. We thought the original production prototype looked great in red as well as silver exterior colors, which we've already seen, but Touring still wants to show the world a Disco Volante finished in dark green with gold accents, which almost seem like Lotus' old John Player colors. (ED: Or the Bishop Don "Magic" Juan)

The Disco Volante is a bit color sensitive, with only lighter colors being able to bring out the curves and the surface details, but this dark green exterior color works far better than black would have. The gold details on the wheels and the beltline accentuate the barrel shape of the body nicely, without letting it seem slab-sided.

Touring Superleggera brings the Alfa Romeo Disco Volate to GenevaTouring Superleggera
This is the third appearance of the Disco Volante at Geneva.

There's a reason we keep seeing this Disco Volante at auto shows: Touring is selling examples of this car made to order. No, they haven't revealed the base price and we're quite confident there really isn't such a thing as a base price, as each example is hand-built to order and takes about 4,000 hours to complete.

But if you wanted an estimate, the 8C Competizione itself is just around $259,000. So just add the materials and the hours required to complete this example. As the old saying goes: if you have to ask... it's probably north of $500,000.

Touring Superleggera brings the Alfa Romeo Disco Volate to GenevaTouring Superleggera
Last year Touring Superleggera showed a production version of the Disco Volante at the Geneva motor show.

PRINTED FROM: http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140303/CARNEWS/140309980/&template=printart

Entire contents ©2014 Crain Communications, Inc.


 

Alfa Romeo sets new U.S. return date

It feels like we've written this headline before...

Natalie Sejnost 4:15 pm, February 25, 2014

Fiat Chrysler announced that Alfa Romeo will be making its triumphant return the United States, with the 4C sports car arriving at dealerships in June. This has been long-awaited news since … well, since Alfa bailed on the U.S. market 20 years ago.

So where can you get one? Fiat Chrysler isn’t saying yet, with spokesman Rick Deneau telling the Detroit News that the dealerships playing host to Alfa Romeo have yet to be informed.

Alfa Romeo has been talking about an American resurrection for 14 years, but the rumors, to this point, had resulted in nothing but a handful of uber-expensive 8C supercars sold via Maserati.

Fiat Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne has made the promise that the Alfas are coming, but just the 4C sports car for now. The remainder of the Alfa lineup, including the Giulia, Giulietta and the newly introduced Spider, are slated to make their debut in the States sometime in 2015.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C sports a turbocharged inline-four mid-engine layout with 240 hp; that may not seem like much, but with a curb weight of about 1,874 pounds, this thing is a relative rocket.

The 4C also boasts a 0-60-mph time of just 4.5 seconds, rivaling any other readily available sports car on the U.S. market today. The 4C is expected to start at just under $60K, which seems like a reasonable price considering the rarity and long-awaited arrival.

 

The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4CAlfa Romeo
The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C is slated to make its debut in June 2014.

PRINTED FROM: http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140225/CARNEWS/140229865&template=printart

Entire contents ©2014 Crain Communications, Inc.


Marchionne: top-selling U.S. Fiat dealers will get first batch of Alfas


Automotive News Europe | January 14, 2014 14:39 CET

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company's top-performing U.S. dealers will get the first tranche of Alfa Romeo vehicles when the sporty Italian brand is reintroduced to the U.S. market this spring.

Speaking at the Detroit auto show, Marchionne said a second Alfa model will come to the United States in 2015 but he did not say which one.

The first model scheduled to appear in Fiat showrooms -- the 4C -- will be the first Alfa Romeo to be sold in the United States in nearly two decades. Alfa plans to build just 3,500 units a year, with 1,200 to 1,500 destined for North America.

Alfa's revival along with sister brand Maserati is a key part of Marchionne's effort to turn around Fiat Group with high-margin sales and offset losses at the mass-market Fiat brand, which has seen persistent losses in Europe and slumping sales in Brazil.

Marchionne said he would reveal a new five-year strategy for Fiat and Chrysler Group in April in conjunction with the companies' first-quarter earnings report.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

The Alfa Romeo 4C, shown, will lead the brand's return to the U.S. market.

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140114/ANE/140119825&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.


Marchionne will unveil 4th relaunch plan for struggling Alfa

Luca Ciferri RSS feed
Automotive News Europe | December 2, 2013 06:15 CET

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes that betting billions of euros on Alfa Romeo will reverse a decade of losses and six years of collapsing sales at the sporty brand. This year, Alfa's sales are likely to fall below 100,000 units for the first time since 1969. Marchionne's new plan for Alfa – his fourth since he joined Fiat in June 2004 – has the same goal as the one he introduced for its sister company, Fiat's premium subsidiary, Maserati. Under the plan, Alfa will focus on developing premium vehicles to be exported worldwide from Italy.

An effective Alfa relaunch is a crucial element in Marchionne's broader strategy to return Fiat's automotive division to profitability in Europe by 2016. Fiat lost 700 million euros ($928 million) last year in Europe and so far Alfa has yet to make a profit under Marchionne's nine-year watch.

"We continue to work in a pretty determined fashion trying to reshape the Alfa Romeo platform and I think we will be in a position to outline more at the end of the first quarter of 2014," Marchionne said during a conference call with analysts on Oct. 30. He said he would reveal a new five-year strategy for Fiat Group and Chrysler next year, most likely in late April in conjunction with the company's first-quarter earnings report. "We will give an opportunity to look to the five-year plan based on the thorough assessment" of Alfa Romeo and the company's other automotive brands, he said.

'Great brand, no plan'

"Alfa is great brand with no industrial plan," said Arndt Ellinghorst, senior managing director of London consultancy International Strategy & Investment.

Ian Fletcher, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, said: "In the past, Fiat has tried to address so many projects at once that it appears to have been unable to give Alfa the attention it really needs." Fletcher said a new Alfa strategy could fall short in terms of execution because Chrysler and the rest of Fiat's European operations also need a lot of attention.

Plan execution is also the main risk foreseen by Massimo Vecchio, a financial analyst at Mediobanca Securities in Milan. "Marchionne could still relaunch Alfa, it is just a matter of money and execution," he said. Vecchio also said that in the future Alfa's products would have to be genuinely premium and not merely pretend to be and he questioned whether the company still has the skills needed to achieve this.

New underpinnings

The revised Alfa plan will focus on a new rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive architecture being developed by a small team of engineers based at Maserati's headquarters in Modena, Italy. The team is headed by Philippe Krieff, who reports directly to Harald Wester, Fiat-Chrysler chief technical officer and CEO of Alfa and Maserati.

Krieff, a French-born engineer, joined tire maker Michelin in 1987 and became responsible for Fiat's chassis and vehicle dynamics 11 years later. He moved to Ferrari in January 2012 as head of vehicle development. Krieff's team is working on a new vehicle architecture needed to help Alfa compete more effectively against German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, both of which already offer the rwd and awd cars favored by many driving enthusiasts.

Alfa, however, will be unable to generate sufficient volume in its own right to achieve any worthwhile economies of scale. So Krieff's architecture must be flexible enough to be used by Chrysler and Dodge brands as well. With a global volume of 101,000 units last year, Alfa sold less than one-tenth as many cars as BMW and Mercedes. There are two key reasons for this: Alfa is product starved – its current models are the MiTo subcompact, Giulietta compact and 4C coupe. The automaker is also almost entirely dependent on a slumping European market. In the first 10 months of this year Alfa's European sales fell 30 percent to 53,604 units, according to data from the industry association ACEA.

The new architecture is expected to help reverse this trend. It will underpin at least four new Alfa models: the Giulia mid-sized sedan and wagon, a large flagship sedan and a mid-sized SUV. The first of these vehicles is due to debut in Europe in late 2015 or early 2016. All Alfa models built on the new architecture will also be sold in the United States, the world's second-largest market after China, where Alfa has long wanted to regain a foothold. Sources say the architecture could also underpin the replacements for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger large sedans, as well as the future Dodge Challenger coupe.

Marchionne's previous plan for Alfa, unveiled in April 2010, sought to achieve annual sales of 500,000 units by 2014. Due to delays in new product launches, however, that target was lowered, first in September 2011 to 400,000 units and then in October last year to "more than 300,000 units."

Analysts are much more pessimistic. IHS, for example, expects Alfa only will sell about 77,000 units globally next year. The market forecaster envisages Alfa annual sales recovering to a peak of about 239,000 units in 2017 and 2018, then decreasing to 223,000 in 2020. To put this dismal performance into context, Audi expects to achieve global sales of 1.5 million units this year and to be selling 2 million units a year by 2020.

Chrysler or Alfa?

Analysts are also skeptical about Marchionne's new plan for Alfa because it could conflict with his other mission, which is to take full control of Chrysler Group. Mediobanca's Vecchio says that with its current capital structure Fiat simply does not have enough cash to buy the remaining 41.5 stake in Chrysler and also to spend billions reviving Alfa Romeo. ISI's Ellinghorst agrees, saying that Marchionne could do "neither ... unless he fixes the issue of combining Chrysler and Fiat cash."

However, Richard Hilgert, an automotive analyst at Morningstar in Chicago, thinks that prior to acquiring the remaining stake in Chrysler Marchionne could prepare an entirely new capital structure for the enlarged group. This would let the CEO: fund the relaunch of Alfa; support new product development for Fiat in Europe; and fund the Chrysler purchase. "I think the company could negotiate a financing package prior to closing on a Chrysler deal with the VEBA [the trade union pension trust that is Chrysler's minority owner]," Hilgert said.

To date Fiat has kept secret its plans for new Alfa models and the investments required for the company's relaunch. Mediobanca's Vecchio expects Fiat to put 5 billion euros into Alfa over the next five years. This includes 800 million euros each for five new products and the balance for marketing and distribution.

Marchionne hopes that revamping Alfa, in much the same way that Maserati has been, will help ignite a production boom. The ultimate aim is to turn the company's currently underutilized Italian plants into export champions. It is hoped they will end up working around the clock to meet unprecedented global demand for such stylish models as the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte large sedans.

Alfa’s last successful model, the 156, debuted in 1997 and achieved peak global sales of 120,000 in 2000.

Aiming at the 'higher end'

"We will focus on Alfa Romeo and Maserati to access the higher end of what we consider to be a permanently polarized market," Marchionne said in October, when he reiterated that Fiat would not close any Italian vehicle plants. The Cassino, Melfi, Mirafiori and Pomigliano plants have the capacity to make more than 1 million units but last year their combined output declined by 18 percent to 394,620 units, according to the Italian automaker association ANFIA.

Industry observers say that as a rule of thumb automakers need to be working at around 75 percent to 80 percent of capacity just to achieve break-even. Last year, Fiat's Italian plants worked at 40 percent of capacity.

"The Maserati [third-quarter] numbers are an initial indication of the route to success of the strategy that we've outlined," Marchionne said. Between January and September this year Maserati's sales rose by 63 percent to 7,458 units – more than the 6,288 cars sold in the whole of 2012 and well on course to beat its 2008 record of 9,000 units. Revenues grew consistently in each quarter this year, reflecting increases in shipments. There was a corresponding improvement in profitability, with a first-quarter trading loss of 4 million euros followed by trading profits of 9 million euros in the second quarter and 43 million euros in the third.

Maserati received about 22,700 orders in the first nine months this year and in November its main plant in Grugliasco, near Turin, finished the 10,000th car built since January. The company said it built 8,200 Quattroporte and 1,800 Ghiblis in the period.

Fiat plans to invest 1.5 billion euros in Maserati between 2011 and 2014 and to sell 50,000 cars a year by 2015. "Our investment [in new models] is starting to pay off," Wester said adding that he aims to deliver a strong profit. "We plan a two-figure operating margin by 2015," he said. For 2012, Maserati had a 6.6 percent operating margin on sales of 634 million euros. This improved to 9.7 percent in the third quarter on sales of 444 million euros. Wester expects revenue to grow nearly tenfold to about 4 billion euros by 2015.

Based on what has been achieved so far at Maserati, Morningstar's Hilgert believes a relaunch of Alfa could work. "Maserati has global brand recognition as a premium automotive company. Alfa has similar global recognition, but as a brand that represents a premium, small, sporty, fun-to-drive carmaker," he said.

Other analysts doubt Alfa can match Maserati's success. "Maserati is super niche," Ellinghorst said, "while Alfa competes with other mass makers and needs global distribution." Said Vecchio: "Maserati is simply a stronger brand."

NEW E-MAGAZINE
This story is from the current issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine, an exciting new product that is also available to read on our iPhone and iPad apps.You can download the new issue as well as past issues by clicking here.

The 4C coupe (shown) comes at a critical time for Alfa, whose global sales this year are set to fall below 100,000 units for the first time since the late 1960s.

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/ANE/131209998&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2013 Crain Communications, Inc.

Alfa's revised plan focuses on new rwd/awd architecture

Luca Ciferri RSS feed
Automotive News Europe | December 2, 2013 06:15 CET

The revised Alfa Romeo plan that Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce next April focuses on a new, still unnamed rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive architecture. A key aim of the new plan is to boost Alfa's global presence.

"With our current segment coverage and our geographical footprint, we compete in about 5 percent of the global market," Alfa's European boss, Louis-Carl Vignon, said in an interview. He wants the brand to compete in 32 percent of the global market by 2016.

Alfa said that its revised plan is "top secret" and refused to comment on individual models to Automotive News Europe. However, the following is what industry and supplier sources say Alfa is currently considering.

Giulia: Originally due in 2014 and planned to share its underpinnings with the redesigned Chrysler 200, which debuts next year, the Giulia project would switch to the new rwd/awd architecture and debut in late 2015 at the earliest. Alfa is considering building the Giulias and other models based on its new architecture at its plant in Cassino, central Italy.

Large sedan: Last year Alfa began working on a rear-drive large sedan. As a derivative of the Maserati Ghibli, the Alfa flagship was intended for launch by the end of 2014. This summer Alfa shelved the idea of using Maserati's underpinnings – regarded as too expensive for Alfa – in favor of the new rwd/awd platform. The sedan is likely to debut alongside the new Giulia at a time yet to be announced.

Mid-sized coupe: The new architecture could underpin a coupe to rival models such as the BMW 4 series.

Large coupe: Alfa is considering a large coupe to rival the BMW 6 series, possibly using the underpinnings of the next-generation Maserati GranTurismo coupe due in 2016. Alfa has not had a large coupe in the post-WWII period.

Roadster: Alfa plans to offer an heir to the legendary Duetto Spider driven by Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate." Mazda will build a two-seat roadster for Alfa at its factory in Hiroshima, Japan. Due in 2015, this will be a variant of the redesigned rear-drive MX-5/Miata, although each model with have its own distinct styling and engines. Alfa will use a beefed-up version of its 170hp 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo-gasoline unit.

4C coupe: At the end of October Alfa delivered the first five units of its 4C coupe to European customers. Shipments to Asia will follow in the first quarter of 2014 and North America in the second quarter. The car starts at 53,000 euros. Alfa plans to build 3,500 units a year, with 1,000 destined for Europe, 1,200 to 1,500 for North America, the rest for Asia.

4C Spider: Alfa plans a 4C roadster version, dubbed 4C Spider. It will have an easy-to-remove carbon fiber roof and is expected to debut at the Geneva show next March.

Compact crossover: Alfa is said to be planning its first compact crossover, to be derived from the single model that replaces the Jeep Compass and Patriot. The timing of an Alfa variant is unclear.

Mid-sized SUV: Alfa had been considering a sibling model to the redesigned Jeep Cherokee for some time. The original plan was for the Alfa variant to be built in the United States and to go on sale about a year after the new Jeep. Latest reports suggest this mid-sized SUV could be switched to the new rwd/awd architecture and be built in Cassino.

Large SUV: Alfa seems to be considering once again a large SUV, this time based on the Maserati Levante premium large SUV to be built at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin. The Levante is due in early 2015 and the Alfa variant could follow about 18 months later.

MiTo: Due to Europe's sales slump, Alfa canceled plans for a five-door variant of the Europe-only three-door MiTo. Its eventual replacement will be relocated from the Mirafiori plant, which is now being converted to build large premium vehicles for Maserati and Alfa.

Giulietta: Alfa's best-selling model has just received a mild face-lift and a better navigation system in the 2014 model launched at the Frankfurt auto show last September. The car is due for a redesign in 2016.

NEW E-MAGAZINE

This story is from the current issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine, an exciting new product that is also available to read on our iPhone and iPad apps.You can download the new issue as well as past issues by clicking here.

Alfa first hinted at plans to add an SUV to its lineup when it revealed the Kamal concept in 2003.

PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/ANE/131209997&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2013 Crain Communications, Inc.


LUCA CIFERRI

Fiat's loveless marriage to Alfa

Automotive News Europe | December 2, 2013 06:15 CET

There has always been bad chemistry between Fiat and Alfa. Fiat's mass-market focus simply does not sit well with Alfa's great history of technical innovation and extreme performance. The only reason Fiat bought Alfa in 1986 was to prevent Ford from becoming a rival car producer in Italy. It never actually wanted the brand.

In the 25 years since then Fiat has created only two truly successful models for Alfa, the 164 large sedan launched in 1987 and the 156 mid-sized sedan and wagon introduced 10 years later.

Fiat has always lacked consistency in its approach to Alfa. New model launches have been spasmodic and Alfa has never been allowed to build on a new model's success to foster the brand, strengthen its dealer network or expand outside Europe.

In 1995, Alfa withdrew from the U.S. market, with sales suffering due to a reputation for poor build quality. For more than a decade talk of a return to that marketplace, the second largest in the world, has come to nothing. To date, Alfa has only sold a few limited-edition 8C coupes and 8C Spiders in the United States. The cars were built for Alfa by Maserati, fitted with Maserati V-8 engines and sold through the Maserati U.S. dealer network.

Now another promised return has been scheduled for the second quarter of next year with another limited-edition, Maserati-built model – the 4C coupe.

Fiat's acquisition of Alfa did not just stymie Ford, it also frustrated Volkswagen Group, whose chairman, Ferdinand Piech, publicly stated in September 2010 that "Alfa is the one brand with the biggest potential for improvement."

But Piech also recognized that acquiring it could take time, adding he was not in any hurry. "We are patient and have time ... you won't hear anything, though, for the next two years." He is still waiting. Last February Marchionne reiterated: "We are not going to sell Alfa. And least of all to them [Volkswagen Group]."

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/BLOG15/312029951&template=printartANE

Entire contents © 2013 Crain Communications, Inc.