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Big Changes Coming for Dodge Charger, Challenger Models

New platform, lighter weight, 300 hp twin-turbo four among updates.

by on Jun.03, 2016

A Dodge Charger concept shown to dealers last August bore a strong resemblance to this 1999 concept.

Two of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s most classically American models will become a little more global when they undergo complete makeovers two years from now.

While FCA officials are saying little to nothing about the planned mid-2018 replacements for the Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars, it appears they will likely switch platforms, adopting an “architecture” getting its first use for the all-new 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia.

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While there will likely be a number of modifications made for the American muscle cars, a key goal will be to slash the weight of the next-generation models. One media report this week suggested the Dodge Charger, in particular, is targeted to shed as much as 500 pounds of mass. That would mirror moves made by key rivals General Motors and Ford.


Alfa Romeo Brings New Giulia Quadrifoglio to LA

Italian maker approaches a critical launch.

by on Nov.18, 2015

Alfa Romeo will launch the Giulia in the U.S. with the high-performance Quadrifoglio model.

All but forgotten Alfa Romeo might easily have become just another one of the automotive brands tossed on the industry’s rubbish heap. Instead, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has approved a 5 billion Euro investment plan aimed at turning out eight new products in a bid to transform it into a viable player in the global luxury market.

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We got a taste of Alfa’s new direction with the launch of the little 4C coupe, but the Giulia is the real lynchpin in the brand’s revival, and after giving a hint of what’s coming at a splashy event in Milan earlier this year, we’re getting a much closer look at the Alfa Giulia at the L.A. Auto Show this week.

Make that the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the 505-horsepower BMW M challenger that recently turned a record-setting lap of 7:39 on the Nurburgring, the fastest ever for a four-door production sedan.


Ambitious Alfa Romeo Plans Scaled Back

“The expectations are not achievable,” concedes Marchionne.

by on Nov.02, 2015

A shot of the Alfa Giulia reveals the 4-leaf clover, meaning its the 510-hp Quadrifoglio version.

Mere months after unveiling the first of a wave of new products meant to transform Italy’s Alfa Romeo into a major global brand, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO Sergio Marchionne concedes the ambitious plan is “not achievable,” at least as planned.

The target was to boost sales to 400,000 by 2018, a nearly six-fold increase from the 70,000 Alfa products sold last year. To get there, FCA was planned to invest about $6 billion to roll out eight new models, including the Giulia sedan it unveiled over the summer. But the maker is now re-thinking that strategy, in large part due to the slowdown in car sales in China, which was expected to become a major market for Alfa Romeo.

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“The expectations of volumes (for China) out of the total pool of 400,000 cars are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable,” Marchionne told Wall Street analysts.


Viva Italia: First Look at the New Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa aims to hit a high note with new performance sedan.

by on Jun.24, 2015

The new Alfa Romeo Giulia makes its debut in Milan. Another seven new models are set to follow.

With acclaimed opera singer Andrea Bocelli sharing the stage, Alfa Romeo rolled out its new Giulia sedan during a packed news conference in Milan, Italy on Wednesday.

Alfa can only hope it has hit a high note with the launch of the new performance model once it rolls into showrooms early next year. The Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan will be going up against a crowded field of luxury competitors, including the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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The challenge will be especially tough in the U.S. which is expected to be the single market for the new Alfa Giulia – and for Alfa Romeo on the whole. The brand has largely been absent for more than two decades, something company officials suggested can be both a plus and a minus for the ambitious Italian brand.

“There’s nothing about the brand that needed to change. We needed to change ourselves,” suggested Harald Wester, the head of Alfa Romeo, as he opened up the news conference.


New Giulia Sedan Could Be Make-it-or-Break-It Car for Alfa

Project key to broader success of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

by on Jun.24, 2015

Alfa Romeo plans to introduce a new sedan in the U.S. as part of its plans to sell more than 100,000 vehicles here.

Italy’s Alfa Romeo will pull the wraps off its all-new Giulia sedan later today during a splashy event in Milan, the birthplace of the long-struggling brand.

The hoopla should be no surprise considering the critical role it will play in the promised revival of the Alfa brand, and in the broader success – or failure – of the strategy laid out for parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles by CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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Largely limited to the European market today, Marchionne wants to more than quadruple Alfa’s sales by 2018, with North America targeted to become one of the brand’s largest market After a long absence, however, Alfa is virtually unknown in the U.S. and Canada today, selling only a few 100 of its pint-sized 4C sports cars since making its return last year.


Alfa Facing Critical Point with Midsize Sedan Launch

Italian brand ready to make inroads into US market.

by on Jun.12, 2015

Alfa Romeo plans to introduce a new sedan in the U.S. as part of its plans to sell more than 100,000 vehicles.

Since returning to the U.S. market last year with its little 4C sports car, Alfa Romeo has barely been more than an asterisk on the sales charts, demand so far measured in the hundreds. So, with a goal of getting that up to more than 100,000 vehicles a year, the Italian maker will reach a critical point later this month when it formally unveils an all-new midsize sedan.

Meant to replace the aging Giulia, the new four-door is targeting the world’s largest luxury car segment and will provide the real test of whether Alfa can meet the lofty expectations set by the long-struggling brand’s parent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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The goal is to reach 150,000 sales in North America alone by 2018, with the new sedan the next in a wave of eight products – most targeting a more mainstream luxury audience than the little 4C. FCA has already spent about $2 billion on the revitalization of Alfa Romeo, noted Reid Bigland, the brand’s North American president and CEO, and it is committed to invest $4 billion more. (more…)

Fiat Could Close Two Plants if U.S. Return Fails

Marchionne confirms Alfa still coming to the States.

by on Feb.27, 2012

Fiat's revival in the U.S. -- as well as its operations in Italy -- could depend on the reception Americans give to the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Despite a slow start, Fiat is still betting it can stage a successful return to the U.S. market – or else, warns CEO Sergio Marchionne.  The alternative would force the closure of two of the maker’s Italian assembly plants.

The good news for Fiat is that most of its plants outside Europe – and those operated by its American partner Chrysler – are operating at full speed struggling to keep up with demand as the global economy recovers. The problem is Europe, where a weak economy has depressed the automotive market and the only way to justify keeping Fiat’s five remaining plants in Italy open is to build up exports.

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But demand in the U.S. for the maker’s little Fiat 500 sedan barely reached half the initial 50,000-unit target last year and, during a media roundtable last month, Marchionne said he doesn’t expect to see it push much higher than 30,000 in North American this year.  But some analysts think even that will be a stretch and warn Fiat’s attempt to rebuild its U.S. distribution network will fail.


Fiat Expanding Line-up, Alfa Likely to Debut With 4C, Says U.S. Chief

Plans for Italian brands falling into shape, according to Soaves.

by on May.17, 2011

Alfa will turn to the 4C to ensure no one can miss its return to the U.S. market.

With initial demand for the little 500 exceeding expectations, Fiat is laying out plans for an expanded line-up that will bring additional models to the U.S., according to the brand’s top American executive.

Meanwhile, sibling Alfa Romeo appears ready to use a production version of the wildly popular 4C concept car to help re-launch that brand here in the U.S.

Despite a two-month delay in getting the Fiat 500 to market, this past March, sales are running ahead of expectations, according to brand boss Laura Soaves.  Demand for the manual transmission version are stretching availability of the gearbox from suppliers, she said during a dinner conversation on Monday.

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Now begins the brand’s expansion, the 500C convertible facing its big test as journalists flood into New York for a first test drive.  That will be followed by the high-performance Abarth edition and, then, a battery-powered version of the little 500.

Soaves has long suggested that what Europeans know as the Cinquecento won’t be the end-all-be-all for the U.S. version of the Fiat brand and she confirmed that another, larger model is now set to follow.  In fact, it appears several products could give Fiat a much fuller showroom over the next several years.


Alfa Delaying U.S. Return to at Least 2013

Marchionne, meanwhile, confirms Fiat upping Chrysler stake to 30% "in a matter of days."

by on Apr.11, 2011

The Alfa-Romeo Giulia is the centerpiece of the Italian brand's planned U.S. revival.

The long-awaited return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S. market has apparently been delayed once again.

The Italian maker, a subsidiary of the Italian auto giant Fiat S.p.A. was due to return to American shores late next year, but that has now been pushed back to 2013, sources confirmed, the blame apparently going to CEO Sergio Marchionne, who feels the brand’s products won’t be ready for the trans-Atlantic jump.

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Separately, Marchionne, who also serves as chief executive of Chrysler, confirms a report by, earlier this month, that Fiat will soon increase its stake in its U.S. affiliate to 30%.  Eventually, the Italian company is expected to push that to a majority 51% share.

Alfa Romeo pulled out of the U.S. market two decades ago, suffering from quality problems and a steady decline in sales.  The maker has made several comeback attempts since then – two years ago launching the low-volume import of the Alfa 8C supercar.  A full comeback to the American market is seen as a critical step for the brand, which has been struggling for a number of years.


Alfa-Romeo To Play Key Role In Fiat Re-Launch

Half-dozen or more models under consideration for U.S.

by on Aug.31, 2010

The Alfa-Romeo Giulia, shown in concept form at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, will help re-launch the brand in the U.S.

While the spotlight is focusing on the re-launch of the Fiat brand, late this year, another long-absent Italian marque is getting ready to make its own American comeback.

Hundreds of potential dealers were in suburban Detroit, this week, meeting at Chrysler headquarters to discuss plans to roll out the U.S. version of the Fiat 500 microcar, the first of several models Chrysler’s Italian affiliate intends to bring to market.  But at the meeting, sources report, Fiat also provided a road map for the re-introduction of its more upscale Alfa-Romeo brand.

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As many as a half-dozen different sedans, coupes and crossovers are under consideration and could make it to market in the years immediately after Alfa’s return, in 2012.  That’s on top of the various Alfa products that could be used as platforms for Chrysler-branded models.  A revival of the Dodge Viper sports car, for example, is expected to be based on an Alfa offering.