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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…)

Alfa Gears Up – Slowly

4C Spider set to be followed by third new model “by the fourth quarter.”

by on Jan.20, 2015

The old Alfa Romeo 159 was sold only in Europe. It's successor will go global, including the U.S.

When automakers added up their sales numbers for 2014, the figures from Alfa Romeo amounted to little more than a rounding error. Returning to the U.S. market mid-year after a two-decade absence, Alfa managed to deliver just 57 vehicles in December.

“It’s a very low volume, and I don’t think anyone’s made any pretenses otherwise,” acknowledged Richard Cox, the brand’s North American director. That said, Cox insists that even those small numbers are a sign that Alfa is on the right path.

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It certainly has big plans. It introduced the new 4C sports car at the New York Auto Show last April. A convertible version, the 4C Spider, debuted last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And, Cox revealed during an interview with, yet another all-new model will debut “by the fourth quarter” of 2015. (more…)

Ambitious Alfa Romeo Launches U.S. Comeback

Big plans hinge on the success of one small car.

by on Jun.13, 2014

Alfa Romeo's got big plans for a comeback in the U.S. starting with the new 4C two-seater.

It may be a small car but there’s a lot riding on the upcoming launch of the new Alfa Romeo 4C. Marking the brand’s return to the U.S. market after a two-decade absence, the success – or failure – of the two-seat sports car could determine whether the Alfa brand can pull off its ambitious global comeback strategy.

The once-grand marque has become an insignificant player in recent years, but parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has approved a 5 billion Euro product development plan that will yield a broad assortment of new models during the next half decade. But as the first offering to reach Alfa’s new U.S. dealer network, it will serve as the foundation for that planned revival, which is expected to see Alfa selling 100,000 cars a year in the U.S. annually before the end of the decade.

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“It’s crucial,” Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester told during a media driving event in San Francisco. “This is the reincarnation of what Alfa stood for in the past,” and what one industry observer described as the “glowing neon sign” that signals what the brand hopes to be in the years ahead. (more…)

Maserati, Alfa Romeo to Get a Flood of New Products

Two Italian brands stand to score big under Fiat Chrysler 5-year plan.

by on May.07, 2014

A production version of the Maserati Alfieri Coupe Concept should reach market in 2016.

It’s been a frustratingly long wait for fans of Italy’s Alfa Romeo, two decades of hints and promises that the brand was finally heading back to the U.S. market followed by repeated delays – Alfa only showing off its new 4C sports car at last month’s New York Auto Show.

While Maserati fans have had a little more to cheer about, the upscale brand has only just begun to show its potential with recent product launches like the new Ghibli and redesigned Quattroporte.

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But the two marques seem destined to have a much brighter, product-rich future. At this week’s day-long strategy session, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles outlined plans that could see a flood of new products roll into showrooms for both Maserati and Alfa. In fact, the latter maker is set to benefit from a newly unveiled “skunk works program” that is expected to yield a full eight new models by 2018.


Muscle Cars Muscle Their Way Into the Big Apple

Mustang, Challenger, Charger – and some high-powered imports – dominate 2014 NY Auto Show.

by on Apr.18, 2014

Yes, it has a Hemi, the newly updated 2015 Dodge Charger is one of many new models muscling in at the New York Auto Show.

Marking the 50th anniversary of its original introduction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, an all-new Mustang is waiting to greet visitors at the NY Auto Show opening this week.

But Ford’s redesigned pony car isn’t the only offering putting the emphasis on performance at an annual event that had, in recent years, been more focused on battery cars and other green machines.  While there are a number of new, fuel-efficient products on display, muscle cars have muscled their way to dominance on the floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on New York’s West Side.

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From Detroit, there’s not only the new 2015 Ford Mustang, but a pair of muscle cars from rival Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge Division. And General Motors, which had a hit with the all-new Corvette Stingray shown in NY last year is back with the upgraded Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which is expected to add nearly 200 horsepower – coming in at an estimated 625 hp – when it reaches showrooms early next year.


Alfa Quiet About Big News in the Big Apple

No news conference, but Italian maker marks its return to U.S. market.

by on Apr.17, 2014

An Ala Romeo 4C beckons NY Auto Show visitors.

Alfa Romeo is giving New York the silent treatment – which might seem odd considering it’s on display at this year’s New York Auto Show for the first time in years as it prepares its long-awaited return to the American market.

The maker had several products on display at NY’s Jacob Javits Convention Center but decided to forego staging a formal news conference, apparently due to the high cost of such an event, several sources told But they stressed that the Fiat Chrysler subsidiary is firmly on track for its planned mid-year resurrection – which comes more than two decades after it pulled out of the States.

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The Italian maker, long known for its sleek and sexy sports cars and other high-line models, will initially focus on the 4C in its bid for a U.S. rival. That’s a curvaceous little two-seater that will initially be offered at around $70,000, Alfa choosing to emphasize a heavily loaded version likely to appeal to “Alfisti” who have been clamoring for the brand’s return.


Alfa Romeo to Launch U.S. Return at NY Auto Show

New Alfa 4 C could soon be followed by other Italian models.

by on Mar.24, 2014

The Alfa Romeo 4C will blaze a return to the U.S. market for the Italian maker.

Picking up on that old punchline, it was beginning to look like Alfa Romeo was going to be the brand of the future – and always would be.  The Italian maker has been talking about a U.S. revival almost since it left the market two decades ago. But despite a few abortive attempts – and an original plan outlined shortly after parent Fiat and Chrysler partnered up in 2009, Alfa’s American comeback has been repeatedly delayed.

Until next month, anyway.  The sporty brand has confirmed it will officially mark its comeback at the upcoming New York Auto Show with the official unveiling of the U.S.-edition Alfa Romeo 4C.  That’s only part of the good news for long-suffering Alfisti.  Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently suggested that the Alfa 4C won’t be alone for long, with other models under consideration for import.

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“The recent announcement that Alfa Romeo is returning to the market and has chosen the New York Auto Show to mark the occasion is very special for us and will be well received by our visitors,” said NY Auto Show Chairman John LaSorsa.

Don’t expect a fast ramp-up for Alfa when the first of the 4C sports cars arrives in June.  The initial plan is to offer the exotic, mid-engined coupe, with its carbon-fiber body, in only a select handful of dealers handling another up-market FCA brand, Maserati.


Alfa Romeo Blows its Top with New 4C Spider

Marchionne promises – really this time – a 2015 return to the U.S.

by on Mar.05, 2014

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider adds even more carbon fiber bits than the original Coupe.

Exactly two years after revealing its 4C Coupe, Alfa Romeo had another surprise for the Geneva Motor Show, rolling out a canvas-topped version of the little sports car, while also giving more hope to frustrated American buyers still waiting for the 4C to make its jump across the Atlantic.

Like the hardtop version, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider uses a stiff and lightweight carbon fiber tub, a rarity for even today’s much-more expensive supercars.  And the new rollover bars, spoilers and windshield frame of the show car also are made of the exotic material – along with various cockpit bits. That helps keep the weight of the convertible to just 132 pounds more than the Coupe, Alfa revealed.

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The distinctive, centrally mounted twin exhaust pipes, meanwhile, are produced from a carbon/titanium blend and supplied by exhaust specialist Akrapovic, better known for its work with the motorcycle industry.  The goal was to give the 4C a loud bark, though the Geneva concept vehicle also allows a motorist to lower the volume with the touch of a button.


Alfa Romeo’s U.S. Re-launch Delayed Until Mid-2014

Neither Fiat nor Chrysler will offer reason for delay.

by on Sep.25, 2013

The Alfa 4C will make extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum to hold down weight.

The long-awaited return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S. market has once again been delayed, Chrysler officials confirm, until sometime close to mid-2014.

But the precise reason for rescheduling the U.S. launch of the new Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t being revealed. The lightweight sports car’s European introduction is proceeding on schedule, with journalists from across the Continent getting their first drive in the 4C this week.

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Earlier this year, Sergio Marchionne, who serves as CEO of both Chrysler and Fiat, the parent of Alfa Romeo, told journalists “For sure, it’s coming back this year,” in reference to Alfa’s long-promised U.S. re-launch. The revival of the brand, which abandoned the American market two decades ago, was tied to the launch of the 4C. “We’re finalizing the car now so it should be here by the end of the year.”


Finally, a 1st Look at Production Alfa Romeo 4C

Mid-engine sports car to lead Italian automaker’s return to US.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Barring a last minute hitch, expect the Alfa Romeo 4C in U.S. showrooms this year.

After an unexpectedly long delay, Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand is finally giving the public a closer look at the little 4C sports car that will usher in its long-awaited return to the U.S. market.

The production version of the 4C, a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe, is making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week, and will go on sale in Europe, and then the States, by year’s end.

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A concept version of the super-light sports car was shown in Geneva in April 2011 and Alfa officials said then that it would be one of several models that they would use to bring the brand back to the American market after a roughly two-decade absence. But that revival — a cornerstone of the alliance formed between Fiat and Chrysler after the U.S. maker emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy – has proved far more difficult to achieve than originally anticipated.