A while back Alfa Romeo announced it planned to build no less than eight new models by 2018. There’s a couple of representations shown in the images. Now the boss, Harald Wester, has said that the company will debut a new Alfa Romeo model in June next year. Fans of Alfa Romeo, even the sane ones, may probably be heard saying, ‘and about time’.
He apparently declined to comment on what type of vehicle it will be when it is unveiled at the Alfa Romeo museum in Italy. Three of the forthcoming cars are under development right now and are said the be a midsize saloon to rival the BMW 3 Series, a mid-sized SUV that will take on models such as the Audi Q5 and a flagship large saloon.
The mid-sized saloon will undoubtedly be the first to go on sale. It is a successor to the late, exquisite and marginally lamented 159 (DriveWrite had the black one pictured). Originally due in 2014 badged as the Giulia, the new car may or may not get a different name. Changing it seems a shame because Giulia is a traditional name for AR – unless they’re holding it back for the flagship motor. We’ll see. The really good news is that this first car sees the return of rear-wheel drive which hasn’t featured on an Alfa Romeo since 1992. AR fans should be ecstatic about this.
It is North America that Alfa Romeo is especially targeting and will be a key market for the brand if it is to rise, Phoenix-like from the doldrums. This has been heralded by the first shipment to the United States of fifty four examples of the diminutive 4C sports car that were dispatched last week. They will be the first Alfa Romeos to be sold in the U.S. market since 1996. The 4C will be followed by a line of Alfa models to be sold in larger numbers, but nobody is giving any timescale.
Parent company FIAT are throwing a lot of money at this re-launch. It remains to be seen which models Europe and the UK will get and indeed when. What is certain is that a company whose name has been tainted in the past by poor reliability (which is why I shifted mine, with regret) and current lacklustre models really needs to get it absolutely right this time. I doubt there could be yet another comeback from this once great marque.