Friday, February 22, 2013

Alfa Romeo make his US return after 18 years

Alfa Romeo make his US return after 18 yearsPaul A. Eisenstein, the Detroit Bureau - 3 days

Built it already cars of the time joined Henry Ford of his first moving assembly line, but despite a long and proud history, both on the road and on the track, you have never heard of Alfa Romeo and almost certainly may never have dangers.

The Italian manufacturer of smooth small sports car drove Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate", abandoned Alfa Romeo, the US market in 1995, the victim of the endemic quality problems and rapidly shrinking sales. But with the parent, who is now married to Detroit Chrysler, Alfa Fiat SpA getting ready, a long-awaited comeback to stage.

A completely new supercar which is Alfa Romeo 4 c, made his debut at the Geneva Motor Show less than a month out and roll into U.S. showrooms make again before year's end. If everything according to plan is hoping Italian manufacturers add quickly three models and target more established European luxury of Marques such as BMW, Jaguar and Audi.

The message is loud resonance, in a small but dedicated group of "Alfisti", have watched with disappointment, as the Fiat subsidiary repeatedly postponed plans for a comeback. Indeed, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne made that one of the key elements of his turnaround plan, after the maker of Chrysler, which regained after his bankruptcy in 2009.

But while most of the Chrysler revival strategy proceeded according to plan, Alfas return soon fell behind schedule, and during a Media Roundtable held, while Marchionne indicated the North American International Auto show last month, still problems with the drive train for the 4 C. planned a further delay, finding.

There is not only the right feel and sound that laments Chief Executive, said that if Alfa could not come up with a "Wop engine", it does not come back in the States. Apparently motivates the troops. Nearly two weeks later, plans for the 4-C were completed.

"To bring back this company Alfa will be a one-off thing," Marchionne cautioned. "We are not twice."

Not only are she part of the Fiat Empire - today includes Fiat and Chrysler brands but also as Maserati and Ferrari Alfa Romeo debuted on June 24, 1910, the product of a consortium of French and Italian Nicola Romeo. The name was short for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, or the Lombard automobile factory.

The company quickly a good reputation for his performance in the Motorsport and his distinctive, street-legal sports car set up. But their fortunes a roller coaster went before Fiat Alfa in 1986 took over. Things have done much better since then, and many industry observers believe that the return to the United States could be moving Alfas make-it-or-break it. If the strategy is successful, Alfa hopes more than triple sales to 500,000 in the next few years, the U.S. market, which is almost 20% of the volume.

Fiat has offered a first look at the new Alfa 4 C supercar, three ahead pictures, closely first, presented to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show - on the concept car and goes too quickly to an assortment of awards in Europe win. Comes the newest Kudo most popular of Britain's what car? Magazine, which recently named "The most exciting car 2013."

Alfa Romeo is aiming for the "tip of the spear", echoed auto analyst Joe Phillippi, AutoTrends consulting, staging his return with a striking "Halo car" that is lost in the crowd are not. It is track-ready technologies including an ultra-light carbon fiber chassis and a four-cylinder turbo engine, that Alfa notes as one of the most powerful feature in the segment, at least by the power / weight ratio, a more accurate measure of performance than raw horsepower.

Although the manufacturer stores important information for the Swiss debut, reports which will be Alfa Romeo 4 c probably somewhere between $75,000 and come in $100,000 and "for this price, I am sure that their band expectations modest," said beat industry main source River, "even though she probably will do."

In the longer term, the Fiat subsidiary more product expand their reach - including an affordable sports car development in a new partnership with Mazda Motor agreed will be added. The Japanese manufacturer will use its version of this 2-seater to replace ageing of the MX-5 Miata model.

Part of the challenge for Alfa will be in an increasingly crowded and competitive market - a challenge that are similar to due as the more mainstream Fiat brand that got off to an extremely slow start, after his late 2011 in the States back.

Like Fiat, Alfa must rebuild a reputation tarnished by the poor quality of the products that it in the 1980s and 90s rolled out. "they have patterns, passed," said analyst main source River, "and they can finish right fit, and refinement to show." There are too many other options otherwise available.

The fact that a generation of American buyers had little experience with Alfa is good news and bad for the brand comeback is planned. It will take some creative marketing and lots of dollar awareness to rebuild, companies recognize officials. On the other hand, hip, young and affluent buyers who coveted the brand last problems will dominate largely little direct Alfas.

A foothold in the United States the breakthrough, which needs the Alfa could recover. But if we do not? Senior Volkswagen officials, including CEO Martin Winterkorn, desire open the Italian brand. At the moment Fiat Chief Marchionne insists, is not to sell Alfa. And if it succeeds in the 4 c need not be. But falls flat, the revival of US well, all bets are off.

Copyright 2013 the Detroit Bureau

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