We often talk about how mergers and shared productions have really made the automotive world do a complete 180 in recent years. A great example of this is back in the late-1980s when Ferrari and Maserati were direct competitors and no one could have ever imagined that in 1999, Ferrari would have complete ownership of Maserati. Then, Maserati ended up being split between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in 2005.
What would be good for a barrel of laughs would be to travel to the mid-1980s and tell Enzo Ferrari that in 2012 his company would be manufacturing a pair of engines for Maserati. Well, all irony aside, that is exactly what’s happening, but also included in this €50 million ($62 million) production deal are Alfa Romeo and Lancia. All four of these models are under the only ownership umbrella that rivals Volkswagen AG, Fiat S.p.A., which is what allows them to share information without fear of losing sales to one another.
The first engine to hit the market will likely be a twin-turbo V-6 powerhouse that will crank out up to 450 ponies. The second engine to come from this development sharing will be a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) V-8 model that will likely crest the 500-horsepower mark. Alfa Romeo has had plans for a replacement for its sports sedan, the 159, but a proper engine hasn’t been developed for it yet. These engines would certainly fit the need and give it a whopping 200- to 300-horsepower increase over the 2011 159’s 3.2-liter V-6.
For Lancia, we really can’t see a model that these engines are suited for, as Lancia currently only has a rebadged Chrysler 200 in its lineup. Maserati can slap either of these engines in any of its cars and it would look right at home, as long as all “Ferrari” badges are stripped. Then again, the automotive world could pay back Maserati by forcing it to slap a “by Ferrari” tag on it like the 1989 through 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati that we all know and “love.”
We’ll keep you updated on this as more information becomes available.
Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider. These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.
After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.
We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.
Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.
It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.
Just a few days ago, we reported that Mazda and Fiat have joined forces to jointly produce a new sports car based on the upcoming redesigned MX-5 Miata. Fiat would use this opportunity to revive the once popular Alfa Romeo Spider, the car whose shoes the MX-5 filled back in 1990. This could not only revive the Spider overseas, but it could also bring Alfa Romeo back into the U.S. market at a reasonable price.
Recently, at a Chrysler event, a reporter from Reuters learned that this relationship may go even further than simply jointly manufacturing a sports car. The report states that Fiat is also open to allowing Mazda to use Chrysler plants to manufacture their North America-bound cars. This would obviously help Mazda a great deal, as importing cars from Japan to North American countries is extremely expensive and drives up the cars’ MSRPs, which in turn drives customers out of dealerships.
There is nothing official, but we could see something like the Ford-Mazda partnership that started in 1979 and effectively ended in 2010. This would result in various joint-ventures between Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Mazda, making the group one that rivals Volkswagen Auto Group, though a tad less luxurious and expensive. The advancements across the board, however, would be similar.
After some tough times, Mazda finally saw some gains in 2011, as its market share increased 9 percent that year, but it needs more to remain afloat. Mazda should see some additional increases over the next few year regardless, as the RX-8, which was down 33 percent in 2011, is being discontinued and the Miata, which was down 11 percent, is being significantly redesigned. A little added boost from a production-cost sharing venture with Fiat and Chrysler could do nothing but help all three rebounding brands and reinvent Alfa Romeo in the U.S.
Alfa Romeo made a brief return to the U.S. in 2008, in the form of only 50 of the $241,000 8C, but it then quickly vanished, just as it did back in 1995. Now there have been talks amongst Alfa Romeo and Fiat to bring the brand back to the U.S. when the Italian automaker releases its newest creation, the 4C.
Well, the speculation and talking are no more, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially awarded Fiat with an American trademark for the name “Alfa Romeo 4C.” It looks as if Fiat first filed for the trademark on March 25, 2011 and received the all-important approval on Aril 10th. This makes it a near certainty that this Maserati-built, Fiat-owned stunningly sexy sports car will make its way to the states.
Much like the 8C that predated it, the 4C will be a limited production model, as Maserati only plans to build about 2,500 models per year. Given we saw 90 of the 500 8Cs produced, we will again likely see about 18 percent of the total production, meaning we will have somewhere around 450 of the 4C available per year.
Fortunately, unlike the 8C, the Alfa Romeo 4C will be affordable for the upper middle-class American with a projected MSRP of $59,310. Fiat plans to pit the Romeo against the likes of the Porsche Boxster, the BMW Z4, and the more affordable MX-5 Miata, though its limited production will not make it easy to compete. This gives Alfa Romeo a car to build around in the U.S. and hopefully make a successful return.
Now that Alfa Romeo is set to return to North American after a lengthy absence, Fiat is looking at a number of measures on how it plans to return to the US and Canada with a bang as well.
One option that the Italian automaker is planning on pursuing is building a ’more affordable’ sports car to compliment the Alfa Romeo 4C soon after the latter is released in 2013. Word is that this affordable sports car will be built as an Abarth, one that is being pegged to take on a market heavyweight like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Easier as that is said than it is done, Fiat understands that the Alfa Romeo 4C might not be up to the budget of a lot of American consumers, especially considering that the car is already being touted as a possible rival to a couple of Porsche sports cars: the Cayman and the Boxster.
Should Fiat push forward and build a front-wheel drive sports car under Abarth, we expect it to carry an output of somewhere around 200 horsepower, possibly even going up north to 250. No details have been made as far as what the car is going to look like, but we’d love it if the Italian automaker brushes off an old Abarth classic - the 1968 Scorpione - and build a modern-day take on what we consider one of the sexiest sports cars of the 60’s. That or they could just make some modifications on the Abarth Scorp-Ion Concept that we saw earlier this year.
A leaked internal document has revealed full details on Alfa Romeo’s future model line-up. Things will start off rather quiet for the next year or so, but in 2013 the company will come out guns blazing with a long list of models.
At the start of 2013, Alfa Romeo will be unveiling an updated MiTo, followed by a five-door version of the same car. These two models will be followed with the highly anticipated production version of the 4C GTA concept unveiled earlier this year. Model year 2013 will end with the debut of the long-rumored SUV - a model that promises to combine "typical SUV versatility with true Alfa Romeo performance."
The following year, 2014, will also keep the Italian company busy starting with the unveiling of the new Giulia in both sedan and station wagon versions. The second act in 2014 will be a new Spider model, followed by a luxury flagship and an updated version of the Giulietta.
With these new models, Alfa Romeo hopes to increase sales to about 400,000 units a year.
Could it be that Alfa Romeo is preparing to introduce a concept sequel to a previously-introduced concept car?
Well, if you’ve seen their first Frankfurt-related teaser, it’s looking like that’s exactly the case. Released on their Facebook page, the teaser pretty much shows the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA, or at least something that looks virtually identical to the concept that Alfa showed at the Geneva Motor Show last March.
The only thing that we can take out of the silhouetted image is the car’s front end with its headlights on and what appears to be a different gray finish. If you recall, the 4C GTA from Geneva had a matte red finish to it.
For all we know, this car could be the Spider version of the 4C GTA as has been rumored in the past. But there’s also a growing sentiment that this could be an improved version of the original concept, which should only attract more positive feedback for the British brand since the first concept was such a hit back in Geneva.
Alfa Romeo has not given any indication on what it has in store for us, but it certainly looks like they’ve got a few surprises up their sleeves for Frankfurt. And since they’re in the process of coming back to the US market, these kind of surprises are exactly the things that’s making American consumers, us included, stand up and take notice.
Alfa Romeo fans in the US have a lot to be excited about because the long-awaited return of the Italian brand in American soil is drawing closer and closer.
Now, according to Autobild, the stage for Alfa’s return to America could take place at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Autobild is also reporting that Alfa Romeo is intent on bringing at least five models to the 2013 NAIAS, highlighted by the drop-dead gorgeous 4C GTA Concept.
Together with the 4C GTA, other Alfa Romeo models expected to join in the US invasion include the Giulia, the Giulietta, the five-door MiTo, and a still unidentified Jeep-based crossover.
We’ve all anxiously waited a long time for Alfa Romeo to return to our neck of the woods and it certainly hasn’t come with some impatience. But now that it’s beginning to look like the Italian brand is in fact US-bound after years and years of absence, that impatience and anxiety is slowly becoming excitement and eager anticipation.
While everyone is waiting for the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA to debut in production form and find its way over to the US, other variations may currently be in the pipeline as well. New reports suggest that the 4C concept will not only preview a two-seater model for Abarth and Alfa, but will also come in some other derivatives, including a Maserati model.
The 4C GTA concept is powered by a "4 cylinder" 1750 Turbo Petrol engine located centrally in the rear of the vehicle and mated to a new automatic "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch transmission. With a total output of 200 HP, the engine will sprint the concept from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds, while top speed goes up to 155 mph. However, we anticipate that the Maserati variant will be both more powerful and sportier, but we’ll have to wait until about 2013 or 2014 to see it in action.
Volkswagen has been trying to get Alfa Romeo away from Fiat for a little while now, but it seems that their tactics have been less than persuasive and more than aggressive. A Fiat spokesman has even said, "We shut the door in their [VW’s] faces and now they’re trying to get in the window." One would think that would dissuade VW from pushing any further, but that person would be wrong.
Now, in Volkswagen’s attempt to become the world’s largest car manufacturing group by 2018, the German automaker is still pushing the sale and planning on what it would do if successful. Turns out, VW will be utilizing their close relationship with Porsche so that Alfa Romeo projects could benefit from the same flat-four engine that will be used in the Baby Boxster set to debut in just a few years.
If this component sharing is accomplished, this engine could make way for a revival of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, or its successor the 33. The Alfasud was a compact car produced by Alfa from 1971-1989 and was one of Alfa Romeo’s most successful models. However, before that is even attempted, VW could decide to plop that flat four into Alfa’s newest concept: the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA.
So, apparently Volkswagen is not taking no for an answer even though Fiat has repeatedly stated that the brand is not for sale. Fiat even denied rumors that VW representatives met with local government representatives at Alfa’s Arese plant, calling them "complete and utter fantasy." All we can say is that Volkswagen should take their time with this deal if they ever want it to go through. Remember, relationships are like farts; push too hard and things may just get messy.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has made it clear that despite Volkswagen’s interest in purchasing the beleaguered Alfa Romeo, Fiat has no plans of selling the Italian brand.
Reports are saying that Marchionne has every intention of holding on to Alfa Romeo despite the brand losing $416 million a year, an estimate made by Max Warburton, a Sanford C. Bernstein analyst in London.
Fiat has already invested 2 billion on the brand and Marchionne still has plans of reviving Alfa Romeo. One of the moves he has made in doing so is bringing the car back to the US beginning in 2012 with the Giulia sedan and another SUV that the company is building in collaboration with Chrysler.
Yet despite the moves that are being made, it’s still a far-fetched assumption to think that the brand can sell 300,000 units a year by 2013 – Marchionne’s benchmark – especially when you consider that in the first nine months of this year, Alfa Romeo has sputtered to meet 80,000 units.
Continued after the jump.
A lot of us may not be familiar with Federico B. Alliney, but those in the entertainment industry certainly know who he is. You see, when director James Cameron was looking for somebody to create the world of Avatar, he turned to Alliney to create it for him. So really, if you’ve seen the movie, you should know that Alliney has his imprints all over it.
That being said, one manufacturer has likewise turned to the artist for some help, only this time, it’s not to create a world of over-sized blue creatures, but for a collection of artworks featuring some of its most iconic models.
Alfa Romeo, together with Federico B. Alliney, have created the “Cross and the Snake” collection, seven pieces of art that highlight some of the most beautiful Alfas in history, including the Carabo concept, the Disco Volante, and the BAT 9. Each car appears with a unique location set against a number of backdrops, including a Texaco gas station, an abandoned greenhouse, a race track, an Avatar-esque jungle, and, of course, the Bat Cave.
Each of the artworks will be limited to 30 reproductions so if you find any of these worth buying, you better act fast before all of the pieces are scooped up.
Press Release after the jump.