Prepare to Say Goodbye to the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
You think pretty looks are enough to keep a model alive? Ask Alfa Romeo that, and you’ll get a loud, resounding ’No’! Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, Sergio Marchionne, has confirmed to Autocar that the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupé’s future in the U.S. is in question; however, the 4C Spider will continue to live on. Now, was this because of Alfa Romeo’s stubbornness to not give customers what they want, or was it just an under-par car?
Don’t Expect to See an Alfa Romeo 4C Quadrifoglio Anytime Soon
The Alfa Romeo 4C has had a turbulent life. It started on a high note when it was introduced in 2013. But since then, the 4C has had an up-and-down existence. Some people swore by its looks and handling, while others were dismayed by its lack of over-the-top power. Five years later, the 4C remains a resilient presence in its segment. Sales have tapered off, but Alfa has no plans of discontinuing the model. On the other hand, don’t expect it to get stamped with the company’s Quadrifoglio badge, either. The Alfa Romeo 4C will remain as it is, though a possible update is in the cards soon.
Did Alfa Romeo Manipulate The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s Nurburging Lap Time Video?
A few days ago, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadifoglio send the automotive world into a frenzy when it posted a lap time of 7:51.7 seconds at the 12.9-mile Nordschleife section of the Nurburgring. Not only was this lap time incredible, but it also broke the 7:59.74 production SUV lap record at the ‘Ring, which was held by the previous-generation Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and has stood for the past four years. Everybody, ourselves included, proclaimed the Stelvio Quadrifoglio as the new SUV king of the Ring. Or is it?
Well, the Alfa Romeo SUV’s record lap time is now being thrown into question after several people have flagged the video of the Stelvio QV’s ‘Ring lap time as being heavily edited. Bridge to Gantry was the first to question the legitimacy of the video, pointing to a number of edited instances contained in the video, including instances where the Stelvio QF shows up at the same location multiple times throughout the video. The website even compares the Stelvio’s video with that of other Nurburgring lap videos, specifically those from the Honda Civic Type R and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. One comparison between the Alfa SUV and the Porsche sports car shows the Stelvio pushing faster than the 911 GT2 RS in a particular section of the track. That wouldn’t have meant anything in normal circumstances, but it is curious in this case because the 911 clocked in a lap time of 6:47.3, almost 1 minute faster than the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Alfa Romeo has yet to comment on the controversy, though don’t expect to hear anything from the automaker unless it fesses up and doctored the SUV’s ‘Ring lap time.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker
Formed in 2014, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) alliance has been doing very good these past three years, which is why Sergio Marchionne is on the lookout to either sell the company or make another merger with a big brand. FCA was refused by General Motors back in 2015 and Marchionne’s attempts to find a new collaboration have been unsuccessful so far. However, it seems that FCA is actually on the brink of finding a new owner. According to new reports, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has received at least one offer in August from a "well-known Chinese automaker."
That’s the word from Automotive News, which claims that the over was slightly higher than FCA’s current market value, but the Italian-American alliance rejected it for not being enough. There’s no detailed information as to what Chinese automaker made the offer, but speculation has it that FCA is negotiating with more than one company. Also, a source close to FCA said that company executives have traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motor Co., while different sources claim talks with Dongfeng Motor Corp., Zhejiang Geely, and Guangzhou Automobile Group.
Continue reading for the full story.
Will FCA Sell off Alfa Romeo and Maserati?
FCA isn’t in the best place right now. It’s been posting low profits, and as of the third quarter of 2016, it has close to $7-billion in debt. Combine this with the investigation of the Dodge Durango and Ram 1500 over roll-away complaints to go along with the airbag recall that affects more than a million vehicles, and it’s safe to assume there are at least a few executives sweating. While that’s not exactly good news for FCA, some reports are indicating that FCA may sell off Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and even Magneti Marelli help it dig itself out of the deep hole that it is in.
Of course, it isn’t all bad over at FCA. It does have its focus on SUVs and Crossovers, and as popular as those models are – especially here in the U.S. – that’s a huge positive for the brand, but whether or not that will be enough to start digging the company out of debt as yet to be seen. And, some market analysts like Evercore ISI recently changed the forecast for FCA from negative to positive, based on the thinking that the brand could sell off Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Berenbeg Bank thinks that Magneti Marelli should also be thrown into the mix.
Whether or not FCA will take this route to dig itself out of debt is still a mystery, but Sergio Marchionne promised the company would be nearly debt free and highly profitable when he retires in 2018. With the financial situation being what it is right now, he has a lot of work to do, and selling the brands mentioned above could be his ticket to success. Alexander Haissl, an analyst for Berenberg bank, says that Maserati could be worth anywhere between $3.6 and $4.8 Billion while Magneti Marelli could bring in an additional $2.3 to $3.7 billion. With those kinds of figures in mind, the brand could manage to attain anywhere between $6.5 billion and $8.5 billion, the former being enough to make the company almost debt free and the later enough to give it some extra capital.
Keep reading for the rest of the story
Alfa Romeo Boss Says Stelvio Quadrifoglio Is A Nurburgring Conqueror
I know there’s been a lot of talk surrounding the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and while some will agree that it’s one of Alfa’s finer works in recent years, there’s also been a lot of dissenting talk on how capable the SUV really is — especially the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Even Alfa Romeo boss Reid Bigland stoked the fire on the Stelvio, telling the gathered press during the SUV’s world premiere that the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has the chops to stake claim to the SUV lap record at the Nurburgring.
Granted, Bigland admitted to only doing simulation lap times around the ‘Ring, but according to him, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can finish an entire lap around the race track in 7:59.0 flat, 0.74 seconds quicker than the current standard-bearer, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, and a ridiculous 14-second gap to the Cayenne Turbo.
Now this may just be Bogland and Alfa Romeo shooting off hyperboles about the Stelvio to get buzzing. After all, we won’t know if the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can really punch that time at the Nurburgring until it actually does it, fully documented. On that front, Alfa Romeo has yet to say when that’s going to happen, but if you look at the numbers of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio relative to that of the Cayenne Turbo S, there is a case to be made that Alfa Romeo’s simulations could be right.
First, there’s the power, which the Stelvio Quadrifoglio 505-horsepower output admittedly falls short compared to the Cayenne Turbo S’s output of 570-horsepower output. But, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also the smaller of the two SUV’s, which means that it’s significantly lighter than the massive 5,093-pound Cayenne Turbo S. Put these numbers together and combine them with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s all-wheel drive system, torque vectoring, the all-world suspension system, and the carbon ceramic brakes, and Alfa Romeo’s claim doesn’t so blasphemous anymore.
So can the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio really beat the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S’s SUV lap time record at the Nurburgring? Only Alfa Romeo can answer that at this point and the sooner it gets the Stelvio Quadrifoglio to the ‘Ring, the sooner we get our answer.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Alfa Romeo Exec Sets Bar High For Next-Gen Models
Given Alfa Romeo’s tenuous status in the auto industry these days, you would think that it wouldn’t be making any bold proclamations to put even more pressure on the brand. But FCA Australia’s new CEO, Steve Zanlunghi, apparently isn’t shy about setting the bar high for the Italian automaker, telling Car Advice that Alfa’s future models would be “comparable towards Maserati-type brands.”
There once was a time when such a statement was accurate. But Alfa has been stuck in the mud for quite some time now and its current status is largely hinged on how successful the Giulia sedan and the upcoming Stelvio SUV are going to be. It’s a lot of pressure for two models to carry, but Zanlunghi is confident enough that both models can be competitive relative to their expected rivals and that they can bring the brand back to prominence in time for the other four models that are scheduled to arrive by 2020.
“With the next generation of Alfas that are coming out, as you will see in Giulia first, I don’t think it’s more about cost but [instead] aligning ourselves with where we are going to perceive where the competition is, based on the product,” Zanlunghi pointed out.
On the one hand, it’s a bold statement to make. On the other hand, it can also be seen as the ultimate shot of confidence given to a brand that needs it. Either way, Zanlunghi’s comments are a testament to the goals of the Italian automaker and where it sees itself relative to the competition in the future. Only time will tell if Alfa can get there, but at least there are people within FCA who are confident enough to speak on those goals and set those expectations at a high level.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Alfa Romeo Shifting its Focus; Shreds Plans for Larger Roadster
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles once had big plans for Alfa Romeo as it saw massive potential in the once-proud Italian automaker. That may still be true today, but in light of the sales struggles of the 4C Spider and the subsequent reports that Alfa was scrapping a successor for the model, the Italian brand is once again on the verge of another major product reshuffle with the company turning its focus on the Giulia midsize sedan, the Stelvio crossover, and a larger crossover that will compete against the likes of the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7.
Lost in the new plans are successors to both the variants of the 4C, as well as a bigger roadster that was supposed to share in the Giulia’s powertrains, and a flagship sedan that was being billed as a possible rival to the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6. A compact model to succeed the Alfa Giulietta is still under consideration but there’s been no indication on which side FCA brass is leaning on.
So for now, the company will set its sights on promoting the business out of the Giulia and all of its derivatives, including the 503-horsepower Quadriofoglio, and the Stelvio midsize crossover. The Giulia is expected to arrive in the U.S. at the tail end of the year and the Stelvio has been tapped to make its long-awaited debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in preparation for a release in the early part of 2017. A coupe version of the Giulia is also in the pipeline as is a bigger SUV, which will share its underpinnings with the Stelvio.
The new product timetable is a good sign that FCA isn’t prepared to throw in the towel with Alfa Romeo. On the flip side, it also shows that the automaker’s margin for error is getting thinner by the day.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
It’s Not Looking Good For This Once Promising Alfa Romeo Model
What was supposed to be one of Alfa Romeo’s most important models has turned into a dud for the Italian automaker. The 4C Spider isn’t doing too well these days and if a report by AutoForecast Solutions is to be believed, the 4C Spider may very well end up being a one-and-done model.
It’s been established Alfa Romeo never thought the 4C Spider would be a sales hit, but even with that realization, the company had hoped that the model would at least make an impression, especially in the U.S. market. Turns out, the only thing the 4C Spider can boast of is that it has sold 11 more models than the Dodge Viper this year (309 to 298). That’s the same Viper that’s going out of production in 2017.
So with little to show for all the time and resourced Alfa Romeo put into developing the 4C Spider, it appears that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is cutting the cord on a possible successor to the model as a way of cutting its own losses in the process. To be fair, FCA has given no indication of its plans for the 4C Spider – or the coupe version – moving forward. The report may end up being true, or it may not. But neither FCA nor Alfa Romeo can’t hide from the fact that from a sales perspective, the 4C Spider has been a massive disappointment.
If FCA ends up sticking with the 4C, it’s going to have a lot of work to do on the model. If it doesn’t, well, it’s back to the drawing board, right? Either way, it’s not a good look for Alfa Romeo, especially at a time when the automaker is hoping to make a new impression in the U.S. market. It hasn’t happened yet for Alfa and the lukewarm reception to the 4C isn’t making it any easier for the company.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Two years ago, when a collaboration between the Fiat Group and Mazda was announced, the deal mentioned that the recently unveiled Mazda MX-5 Miata will get a brother in the form of an Alfa Romeo roadster built on the same platform. Earlier today we found out that this will not be the case anymore, with the head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands letting it slip in an interview with Car Magazine that the original idea is actually all wrong.
Apparently, the future Alfa Romeo Spider will not use the MX-5 Miata’s ND platform and will therefore not be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. Instead, a yet-to-be-named Fiat/Abarth product will be based on the ND Miata. According to a transcript of the interview that Alfa and Maserati chief Harald Wester gave to the British magazine, it seems that "As far as the Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] codeveloped with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio."
As some of you know, "project Giorgio" is a new modular architecture derived from the one underpinning the current Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, which will be used in the future on pretty much every RWD Alfa Romeo and some Dodge/Chrysler models. Mazda’s ND platform is still part of the agreement though, and it will be used by either a standalone and long-rumored Abarth roadster or a modern-day variant of the old Fiat 124 Sport Spider, or maybe both. Either way, it won’t be an Alfa.
Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo Spider.
Alfa Romeo’s arrival in North America has moved one step closer to becoming a reality after the Italian automaker announced the first 86 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada. The announcement is the latest piece of evidence that the company’s long-awaited return to North America will finally go on as scheduled.
All in all, 33 states in the U.S. will receive an Alfa Romeo dealership. Of those 33, California received the most number of dealerships at 12 with Texas a close second with 10 and Florida with nine. Other major auto markets also received a handful of dealerships, including Michigan (5), Ohio (4), Virginia (4), and Illinois (3). On the flip side, New York received only one dealership, which is a little surprising to say the least.
As for Canada, the entire country was given four dealerships, including two in Quebec and one for both Ontario and Vancouver.
Alfa Romeo is expected to announce more franchises later this year. But for now, these 86 dealers will get first dibs on selling new Alfa Romeo models in their market, including the 4C and the limited edition 4C Launch Edition.
Get ready, North America, Alfa Romeo is set to return!
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C.
To say that Alfa Romeo has already gotten its money’s worth with the 2014 4C can be construed as an understatement. The vehicle hasn’t even hit the market yet in the U.S. but the attention it’s received from all corners of the industry has been more than what Alfa Romeo expected when it gave the green light to the 4C.
Now, Alfa Romeo’s future lineup of models may owe its existence to the 4C after the company announced that designs of all future mainstream models will take inspired from the 4C.
That’s a pretty big deal for a small, yet agile, sports car that has caught everybody’s attention since it was introduced as a concept a few years ago.
Talking to Autocar, Alfa UK brand manager Damien Dally said that the architecture of the 4C, including its lightweight body and all-aluminum 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, will be used in future mainstream Alfa models. Dally stopped short of divulging more details, but you can definitely take his words with more than just a grain of salt.
The 4C has earned the kind of cache normally reserved for more recent and more esteemed brand models. It just goes to show that Alfa Romeo has, in all likelihood, a certified winner in its hands made more impressive considering that the model has yet to hit US shores.
Click past the jump to read about the Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa Romeo 4C sports car is drawing attention from all corners of the auto industry. According to AutoExpress, it’s even piqued the interest of its sister company, Maserati.
Following on its plans to sell 50,000 vehicles a year by 2015, the Italian automaker, or at least its boss Harald Wester, also said that a variant to the 4C sports car could very well be in the cards too.
"It’s a nice idea," Wester said when asked by AutoExpress about Maserati’s plans.
With the new Ghibli joining the ranks of the Quattroporte, the GranTurismo and the GranCabrio in Maserati’s ranks, questions on whether the automaker spreading itself a little too thin aren’t unjustified. And don’t forget the Levante SUV, which is scheduled to be unveiled next year.
But if there’s an entry level in Maserati’s future, it couldn’t have picked a better one than the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa Romeo 4C’s highly anticipated U.S. debut later this year is drumming up all kinds of hype from a lot of dealerships looking to get a piece of the Italian sports car.
Unfortunately, not every Fiat dealership will get their hands on the 4C, at least according to Chrysler Group vice president for network development and fleet, Peter Grady.
Talking to Auto News, Grady revealed that the two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe will only be sent to the best performing Fiat dealerships. Translation: those that don’t sell enough models are out of luck.
"The 4C is the first vehicle that comes at the end of this calendar year, and it’s going to go to the current Fiat dealers that are performing," Grady told Auto News.
"So if you’re selling and you’re taking care of your customer, you’ll be first up for Alfa Romeo."
There are two ways to look at this, shall we say, "condition" set by Chrysler. One, it could set off a competitive selling frenzy amongst a lot of Fiat dealerships in the U.S. just to get a piece of the 1,000 4Cs earmarked for the U.S. each year. On the flip side, you could see a virtual monopoly of the models by a select number of dealerships that are already ahead in the sales race of Fiat models.
Grady also said that he’s willing to be flexible to dealers that are confined by a limited location and can make the necessary adjustments to ensure that they’re not left out in the cold because of their circumstances.
Instead, he put out the condition that dealers meeting sales and customer service targets will still get Alfa Romeo franchises even if their stores are in malls, as long as they attach service departments before the Alfa Romeo models arrive sometime in 2015.
It seems like we’ve been waiting for the Alfa Romeo 4C for over a decade now. We know it really hasn’t been that long, but the wait for this car has been real a patience-tester.
It now appears that the horizon is finally upon us; the 4C Coupe and Roadster appears to be within our sights.
At least that’s what Chrysler & Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the Detroit Auto Show when he declared that the 4C will go on sale in the U.S. before the end of the year. "We’re finalizing the car now, so it should be here by the end of the year," Marchionne was quoted by The Detroit News.
Yet even that latest proclamation was met with a little confusion after a statement earlier last week pretty much said that the 4C’s U.S. debut will be delayed in light of continuing talks regarding the return of the Italian automaker on U.S. soil.
At this point, it’s probably a more prudent approach to simply wait for the car to appear in dealerships. We’ve waited long enough for the 4C, anyway. What’s another year’s worth of keeping an eye out for its debut?
At the very least, we’re waiting for a pretty spicy sports car, one that comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that develops 230 horsepower with a 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) time of less than five seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
We already know that Mazda and Alfa Romeo are in bed together on the MX-5 Miata/Alfa Romeo Spider project, but the specifics were still a relative unknown. A little bird, in the form of a senior design source, flew down and chirped a little info to our friends at What Car. We cannot vouch for the validity of this info, but we’re going to pass it on to you.
First up, the engine... According to this unnamed source, Mazda has chosen an engine already and it is a 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It pumps out a healthy 200 horsepower, which is 22 horsepower more than the 2004 and 2005 Mazdaspeed MX-5 produced and 33 horsepower more than the current model. We’re also certain that we’ll see torque cresting the 200 pound-feet mark, though there was no mention of that.
The source also reports that the MX-5 will hit showrooms in 2015 with a lighter body and chassis, and a sportier look than the current model. The estimated weight the source gave was 1,000 kg (2,204 lbs), which is 276 lbs less than the 2012 model. In a car as small as the Miata, that is significant weight loss, to say the least.
There is also talk that Mazda will offer its roadster up with many more options that will help give the car more of a personality. This will help form a stronger bond between the person and the car. Typically, Miata owners already have this bond with their car, but a little extra something can’t hurt.
Lastly, there will be a top-end model, similar to the Mazdaspeed version in 2004 and 2005, that will be even lighter yet and more tuned for racing, as it will be stripped of unnecessary add-on features to save every ounce.
There was one bit of info on the project altogether and it is that Mazda will only provide the platform (chassis, uni-body, and drivetrain); Alfa Romeo will add on its own body and interior. So scratch the evil idea that we’ll have two almost identical cars.
We’ll keep an eye out for more whispers as this project continues.
Of all the upcoming sports cars that are scheduled to be released in the coming year, the Alfa Romeo 4C probably tops our list as one of our most eagerly anticipated releases. But even with the coupe not scheduled to make its debut until next year, a source has already told Autocar that Alfa Romeo is planning on building a convertible version of the 4C.
While no exact details were shared on the future of the convertible 4C, it does give indication as to the investments Alfa Romeo is putting on the model, which is being touted as the brand’s halo model that will spearhead Alfa’s reinvention as a company.
The coupe version of the 4C is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 296 horsepower. The convertible model will likely carry the same powertrain, although a few modifications to the car’s body will most likely be in order. Of note is the roof mechanism that will most likely be installed, which could add some weight to the car.
Rest assured, more details will follow as soon as new information becomes available.