Alfa Romeo

22.08.2006 Alfa Romeo's proposed new Grande Punto platform-based entry-level  model has been given the go-ahead this month reports Automotive News Europe

Alfa Romeo's proposed new Grande Punto platform-based entry-level model has been given the go-ahead this month reports Automotive News Europe this week who suggest it could arrive as early as 2008. Eagerly awaited by Alfisti the sporty new model is set to rekindle the memories of the legendary Alfasud, a car which totally changed the face of the Alfa Romeo brand when it arrived on the market in the early 1970s.

ANE suggests that the new hatchback model - which will be categorised as a "premium" entry model - will go head-to-head with BMW's Mini Cooper S in the market place. Referred to as the "Junior" the authoritative automotive newspaper believes that the project has now been given the green light by Fiat Auto management. "Alfa expects the reintroduction of a third mainstream model line to boost its annual global sales to 300,000," says ANE. "The loss-making Italian brand says it needs to sell 300,000 cars a year to break even financially.

"The Junior will be a sporty, three-door hatchback. It will be based on the Fiat Grande Punto platform but have a different body," continues the ANE report which suggests it could even arrive in the showrooms just ahead of the C-segment Alfa 147 replacement, implying that the project is at quite an advanced planning stage already. "Due by 2008, the Junior will become Alfa's new entry model, fitting below the lower-premium 147, which will be replaced in late 2008 by the larger 148," says ANE.

Production levels of 60-80,000 units per year for the new model are being targeted by Fiat Auto according to ANE. With the larger "Premium" based Alfa 159, 159 Sportwagon, Brera and Spider set to generate 120,000 unit sales per year, the arrival of the smaller entry-level model will help the brand towards an ambitious annual target of 300,000 units recently set by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne who believes that this is a break-even point.
 

ALFASUD

The Alfasud rolls off the production line in Naples in the 1970s: now ANE suggests that the new hatchback model - which will be categorised as a "premium" entry model - will go head-to-head with BMW's Mini Cooper S in the market place.

ALFASUD TI

Eagerly awaited by Alfisti the sporty new model will rekindle the memories of the legendary Alfasud, a car which totally changed the face of the Alfa Romeo brand when it arrived on the market in the early 1970s.


Last year Alfa Romeo sold 126,000 cars, down from 153,000 in 2004, although this year, with 80,000 sales in Europe during the first six months already, the brand's sales revival should see it easily beat in 2006 the levels achieved over the last few years.

Meanwhile ANE suggest that the "Junior" could be powered by a turbocharged version of Alfa Romeo's 1.8-litre direct injection engine. "To make the Junior a hot, sporty model, Fiat Powertrain Technology is preparing a 230hp turbocharged and gasoline direct-injection version of its current 1.8-liter engine," says ANE continuing to say that a variable all wheel drive transmission will be mated up to the punchy new unit: "The Junior's range-topping 230hp version will come with Alfa's Q2 part-time four-wheel-drive transmission system as standard equipment. Based on a central coupling device from Sweden's Haldex AB, the Q2 system transfers some torque to the real axle only when the front wheels are spinning. It is lighter, less expensive and has better fuel economy than a permanent 4wd system.

Less powerful petrol and turbodiesel engines will also be available in the new range while ANE suggests that the "Junior" will be assembled on the new Grande Punto production line at Mirafiori, which has been up and running for three months now. If it does go-ahead the model will adhere to the Alfasud's principles of innovation, agility, affordability, style and the sheer pleasure and thrill of driving it that made the little car such a big hit and allowed buyers to overlook its main flaws which included poor build quality and the use of inferior steel.
 

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05.07.2006

Discussions about a new car for the Alfa Romeo brand have been formally rekindled recently with a final decision whether to implement the project expected to be taken as early as September of this year

2006 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed