AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is making Alfa Romeo’s U.S. re-launch a top priority, calling it “the most difficult thing I have to do”. Alfa Romeo last sold cars in the U.S. in 1995, but the brand still has a strong image in the U.S., spurring Marchionne to focus efforts on North America.
Alfa Romeo’s image has taken a beating in Europe over its legendary quality issues, and this factor provided further impetus for Fiat to focus their efforts in the U.S., where Alfa’s are viewed with nostalgic fondness. Marchionne hopes that Alfa will sell 80,000 cars in the U.S. in 2014, with 400,000 units sold globally – up from 150,000 currently.
Alfa will offer the 4C sports car and a compact SUV will be offered initially with the Giulia sedan and wagon, the Mito hatchback, a new Spider and a Chrysler 300C-derived 6C sedan coming as well. The 4C is said to be a key halo designed to capitalize on memories of Dustin Hoffman’s Alfa Spider in the iconic film The Graduate.
Discuss this story at 4CForums.com
Fiat’s 900cc TwinAir 2-cylinder turbocharged engine, currently available in the European market Fiat 500, has won critical acclaim for its performance and use of advanced technology, and the motor will soon be available in both the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto.
The TwinAir will superceed the current base engines in both cars, rated at 77 and 64 horsepower respectively, as it produces 85 horsepower. The TwinAir will also likely be more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and carbon emissions, with estimates ranging between a 10 and 15 percent gain in both categories. A start-stop system will also be employed.
The base engines will still remain available, but the TwinAir is expected to be a popular option, as it will allow buyers to dodge European C02 emissions taxes.
[Source: Left Lane News]
One recent discussion taking place at Autoguide HQ was how long it’s been since we’ve driven a car that was truly worth a bad review. Most cars these days are pretty good, and the true stinkers are few and far between.
The other side of the coin is that competition for your dollars is fierce, and manufacturers literally cannot afford to sell a bad car anymore. So when a car is truly bad (or outdated), we won’t hesitate to let you know. One Italian outlet did just that, and might have to pay the price for airing their opinions.
One Italian automotive TV show did just that, slamming the Alfa Romeo MiTo as a “inferior” machine when compared to the MINI Cooper S and Citroen DS3, two seriously good cars in their own right. Alfa Romeo’s parent company FIAT is planning to sue AnnoZero, the show in question, for damages relating to “highly defamatory” statements.
While Italy has a notoriously flimsy judiciary (and FIAT’s status as a hugely respected corporate entity also carries lots of weight), these poor schmucks might just get fined. Certainly, this flagrant abuse of the judicial system would never fly in the United States – the PR staff would just ban the journalists from the press fleet or threaten to stop inviting them to lavish junkets, and you can bet on immediate capitulation from the scorned scribes.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta and MiTo hatchbacks will get an all-new, in house dual clutch gearbox, known as the TCT, which will be unveiled at this month’s Paris Auto Show.
The TCT gearbox will initially be available with the 1.4L Multiair engine making 168 horsepower, followed by the 2.0L diesel outputting the same amount of power. The TCT will also feature a new stop-start system designed to cut down on emissions. The diesel engine will also be unveiled alongside the TCT gearbox and is aimed at the fleet market. With 138 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the new 2.0L oil burner will be able to get 62 mpg combined, leaving us wondering when it will make its way to a Chrysler product.
Cara-what? The Carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary police, are famous for their sharp liveried Alfa Romeo sedans, which can be seen driving around the streets of Rome, Genoa, Milan and other glamorous locales we know about only through movies and stereotypical depections of la dolce vita.
The Carabinieri have traditionally chosen the Alfas for their driving prowess, but a Sydney, Australia-area police force has chosen the cute-as-a-button Alfa Romeo MiTo for “community outreach” work. The MiTo joins a Hummer H3 and a Holden Commodore, but we think that younger children in particular will respond will to the Alfa’s diminutive size and toy-car-like styling.
Gran Turismo Allegerito sounds so sexy in Italian, when it really just means “Grand Touring Light Weight” in English. The name is banal, but the GTA products in Alfa Romeo”s lineup have always been scorching. The first GTA’s dominated sports car racing in Europe and America (until the Datsun 510 came around), and subsequent cars, like the 156 GTA and 147 GTA, re-wrote the book on powerful front-wheel drive cars.
The newest GTA models are expected to be found at both the lowest and highest ends of Alfa’s lineup. The MiTo GTA, a sporty Alfa for the common man, is expected to pack 240 horsepower from a turbo-four engine, the appropriate chassis tuning and exterior bits. The MiTo GTA was supposed to be out already, but the economic downturn of 2009 forced its shelving for the time being. Clearly, this car is important to Alfa and the company wants it ready in time for their birthday bash, and a possible return to North America.
At the other end of the spectrum is Alfa’s 8C Competizione GTA. With 500 horsepower and 330 fewer pounds trimmed away, the 8C GTA should be blisteringly fast, and stunningly beautiful. With an expected production run of 100 cars, don’t expect to get your hands on one unless you are rolling in cash, and on good terms with your local Alfa distributor.
Gallery: Alfa Romeo 8C
The Fiat Panda is just one of several cars that will be sold in the U.S. under the Chrysler/Fiat alliance. It will most likely be badged as a Jeep.
There has been plenty of speculation as to which Fiat vehicles will make it on to North American roads as a result of the merger with Chrysler, but thanks to bankruptcy filings, the mystery has been solved.
In total, it looks like five or six Fiat and Alfa Romeo models will make their way over, as well as two engines and one impressive transmission.
Robert Manzo, the executive director of Capstone Advisory Group LLC, a company that is working with Chrysler during the Chapter 11 filings, stated clearly that the vehicles are the Fiat 500 and Panda, the Grande Punto and Alfa MiTo as well as the C-Evo based sedan and Milano 940.
The Fiat 500 and and Panda will fit into the micro-car category, although the Panda isn’t exactly micro. As more of a compact crossover, it will likely be branded as an entry-level Jeep.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo, will come over as a sporty sub-compact, and the Fiat Grande Punto will be a sub-compact hatchback.
From left: Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Grande Punto
The only thing that isn’t entirely clear is the talk of the C-EVO platform and the Milano 940. While these two vehicles would be more mid-sized, they may actually only be one vehicle. The C-EVO is a platform, expected to underpin the successor to Alfa’s 147 (likely the 149), whereas the Milano 940 is a concept car based on the platform. We expect to know more when Alfa brings new products to the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
In terms of engines, the agreement would see two Fiat motors travel across the ocean. The first is a 3.0-liter diesel and the second is a 1.4-liter gasoline powerplant. The deal will also see a new state-of-the-art double-clutch transmission come over for use in many of these new models.