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First Drive: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

A performance SUV we won't Pass on.

by on Jun.23, 2017

The Stelvio is the first SUV ever from Alfa Romeo - though more are in the works.

The rain is falling in heavy sheets, the windshield wipers beating time in an effort to keep up. Some other drivers have begun pulling off to the side waiting for things to clear up, but we only tip deeper into the throttle as we slice our ways through the corners on our drive through the heavily wooded hills of Tennessee.

We’ve got miles to put on, and the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio seems to be relishing the drive. Sometimes, it’s maneuvering through the worst conditions that reveals the most about a new vehicle, and by the end of our journey we’ll be learning a lot about the Stelvio, the Italian automaker’s first-ever SUV.

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Just starting to roll into showrooms across the U.S., the Stelvio is Alfa’s third new product line, sharing space with the little 4C sports car and the only recently introduced Giulia on dealer lots. Though longer and taller than the sports sedan, the SUV shares the same mechanical underpinnings and, as we quickly learn, pleasantly similar driving dynamics. The Giulia was a revelation to drive and now, with the arrival of the Stelvio, Alfa is more than justifying its existence with the sort of performance model the SUV-crazed American market has been waiting for.


FCA Expands Product Line at Poland Engine Plant

Maker plans to expand production in Italy as well.

by on Nov.28, 2016

FCA's Bielska Biala, Poland, plant will begin producing two new engines in the coming year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will build two new gasoline engines at its plant in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, in an investment it said was confirmation of its commitment to developing its operations in the country.

It is third time this fall Poland has been designated as the recipient of a major investment by a global automaker. Daimler AG said in October it will new engine plant in Jawor, Poland, signing the property purchase agreement for the site with its Polish partners. Toyota also has announced it plans to spend $165 million for a new factory to build gearboxes for hybrid vehicles.

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Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Polish news agency PAP that FCA could invest up to $265 million in the project and create several hundred new jobs. (more…)

Alfa Romeo Set to Expand Dealer Network, Bigland Says

Brand boss expects more than 200 stores within 18 months.

by on Nov.17, 2016

Alfa's U.S. boss Reid Bigland said the brand's growth plans will be catalyzed by more products, better marketing and dealer expansion.

Alfa Romeo is planning to push its return to the United States with a dramatic enlargement of its product portfolio, a broader marketing campaign and an expansion of its dealer network that will boost its sales capacity.

Reid Bigland, the executive from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of Alfa Romeo, said the number of Alfa dealers will grow significantly in the near term.

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“We have 155 dealers in the U.S. and 20 in Canada for a total of 175,” Bigland added after a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show where he unveiled two new Alfas, the Giulia, a new mid-sized sedan, and Stelvio, a midsized sport utility vehicle named for the one highest passes through the Alps. (more…)

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…)

First Drive: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Getting caught in its web.

by on Jun.12, 2015

Fun Factor 9.5. Practicality 2.

The narrow blacktop twists and turns, rises and falls. It plunges into dense, dark stands of redwood, only to burst back out into fields of straw drying to gold in the bright California sun. The back stretch of Carmel Valley Road can stretch the limits for most drivers, and most automobiles – which makes it the perfect place to take the new 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider for its first drive.

It’s been barely a year since the Italian automaker returned to the U.S., after a two decade absence, with the 4C Coupe. The little sports car is an eye-catcher, with the over-the-top curves of its SMC body enveloping an ultra-light carbon fiber platform.

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Now, the 4C is going topless, and we jumped at the opportunity to test it out during a long drive along the awe-inspiring Big Sur coastline, on the challenging Laguna Seca race track, and then onto the back roads of Monterey County.


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…)