New boss must turn firm around by 2010
30 January 2008

New Alfa Romeo boss Luca de Meo has been given 1000 days to turn around the company’s fortunes before reaches its centenary in June 2010 and is relaunched in the US after a gap of 15 years.De Meo’s first move will be to re-open the 159/Brera manufacturing plant, which closed before Christmas for a £70m refurbishment aimed at improving quality, streamlining the build process, improving the cars and removing weight from their structures. The 2008-spec 159 and Brera models will be around 50kg lighter than their predecessors, mainly because computer redesign has shown that key body and chassis panels can use considerably lighter gauge steel without harming strength or durability.De Meo, who will unveil the Punto-based entry-level Alfa ‘Junior’ at the Geneva motor show in March, and a replacement for the 147 (called 149) next year, reckons it’s “pretty clear” how to restore Alfa’s fortunes. “You have to rebuild all the old Alfa values of spirit, agility and responsiveness into today’s cars,” he told Autocar. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s not rocket science”.

Steve Cropley

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Comments
4

31 January 2008

I am writing from a South African perspective but I am sure that many of my points are universal. Their cars are beautifully designed and from my experience over the last 11 years pretty reliable. They are all very overwight and i doubt that shedding 50 kilos is going to help them very much.

Their pover to weight ratio accross their whole range is rediculously bad. IF Alfa does not have a performace advantage over its opposition then it has nothing. It has hardly any service to speak of and depreciates like melting ice in the desert. To compete as a luxury sporting brand I doubt whether they can get there in 10 years judging from the pace at which they move.

500 V8 supercars which nobody can afford, or even purchase if they could afford them, does not make them a sporing brand. Nissan is more of a sporting brand with some of the great products that they offer.

31 January 2008

I agree with some of the points raised above, regarding overweight and responsiveness etc. However, trying to say that Nissan have a better sporting pedigree than Alfa is stretching it. Admittedly, Nissan in recent years has contested in endurance events and 24 hour Le Mans etc. but what real history do they have?

Alfa has a far more evocative and romantic past that weighs heavily in the marque's favour and all wrapped in fabulously shaped body work.

I feel that they have a direction now that has been lacking for many years, backed up by far better reliability and on the strength of my own experience, a dealer network that looks like it is realising the mistakes made in the past.

I have every faith in their ability to bring it back from the brink.

31 January 2008

I'm glad that Alfa Romeo are trying to re-launch themselves in the US, although I am not sure if it will fare well. The shedding of weight was definitely needed for the Brera.

1 February 2008

Once I was looking into an old alfa Romeo GTV2000 Giulia and read about it. In its day it had an all aluminium engine, twin cam and twin carburettors, 4 barrels alogether. It also has a a 5 speed gearbox in the late 60s. I was impressed. I also found out that they adopted a mechancially operated center fugal force variable cam timing too sometime during the 70s. Definitely the forefront of engineering of its era. Some where along the line alfa dropped its technological effort and I think they need to pick it up again. The have history and pedigree when it comes to technology and should continue to persue that like all the other successful car manufaturers today. Affordable and exciting technology. If they don't persue this then I do not know what is going to happen. They cannot just keep pushing the badge only.

Personally I would love to see alfa Romeo go back to rear wheel drive with an independent rear suspension and rear mounted gearbox. They could run a parts sharing configuration to their multi model line up by standardizing this format.

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