Posts Tagged ‘alfa romeo’

As the snow continues to tumble out of the sky and more people drive gingerly, my front-wheel drive car has encountered little problems. I’m not showing off, I have had a few instances of lost traction but it’s light enough to skirt over the snow with no real grief. I have watched a lot of heaver cars struggle, especially those with rear-wheel-drive. So the solution, surely is a 4WD.

But what if you don’t want a Chelsea Tractor? Surely there must be something out there that has that capability that would look more at home in the fast lane than on a farmer’s field? There is, this:

I’ve seen a few examples of the new Alfa Romeo Brera in Kent and I would never have guessed it was 4WD. Then again, why should I? There’s no rule that every car with such capability has to look like an old Land Rover Defender and absolutely NO reason why Alfa Romeo couldn’t combine it with their undeniable gift for styling.

Even that pube-headed, loud-mouthed Jeremy Clarkson rated it amongst the top 25 cars he’d ever driven. He said that “as you drive along you can feel the Alfa-ness of this car, the little tingles and the droplets of feedback that you don’t really get from anything else in this class” and that “what makes the pleasure so doubly satisfying is that you have a four-wheel-drive car, yet no one can tell.”

It’s a gorgeous car and one that I’m sure would leave many people stuck with wheels spinning in the snow understandably jealous as it moved through with no problem at all while looking like a slab of pure Italian style.

alfa romeo brera kent

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There’s something about Alfa Romeos that inspire a strange sense of pride in their owners. While the Italian manufacturer was once a bit of a marmite-like quality amongst dealers it’s really climbing in terms of popularity and car sales lately. Especially with the likes of the new MiTo taking it to a previously un-tapped market.

It’s a shame then, for us owners of Alfas, to find that two of the company’s models feature in Glass’s list of cars retaining the least of their original list value after 3 years. Top offender on the list was the executive contender that never really was, the doomed 166. Sadly, despite this vehicles many qualities it never really sold and dropped off forecorts in 2007. Which goes some way toward explaining why it’s top of the list, retaining just 14.4% of its original value. Given that this one used to go for around £30k… ouch.

For Just 15% of Original Price?

For Just 15% of Original Price?

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It never fails to amaze me what they’ll declare it National Day of or National Week of. There’s been some real stupid ones and some that may have had their heart in the right place but not so well-thought out.

oil check

Next week is, for some reason, National Oil Check Week. Having spent many years with cars that leak or drink oil like it’s going out of fashion, I’ve become familiar at many car-accessorie places across Kent. Other Alfa Romeo drivers, apparantly would be wise to do the same. A survey by Comma found out that 26.2% of Alfa drivers across the country didn’t know how to check their oil.

3,800 motorists were surveyed and it was revealed that a whopping 71.4% of SEAT owners failing to check their oil regularly with Jaguar and VW drivers not very far behind. Seriously? If you’ve spent that much money on a car you’d think you’d be careful with such things, given their vitality.

Is it a case that the level of technology in cars now means people don’t think they have to keep an eye on what is the life-blood of their engine?

Thankfully, I feel a little bit of pride in knowing that Alfa Romeo scored the highest in monthly checks, for that stat of those not checking means that 74% do check their oil at the montly intervals.

These stats to make it clear that awareness of the importance of oil checks needs to be raised. There’s even going to be a roadshow visting Edinburgh, Bristol and Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. Alfa drivers may not need the free oil check and top up but, going by the stats, I’d advise those SEAT drivers to get down there. That’s if your engine hasn’t seized through your neglect.

My Dad used to tell me “check your dipstick, don’ be one.” Do you regularly check your oil levels??

alfa mito

It’s looking to be a fantastic year if you happen to be the CEO of a certain Italian auto-company that’s about to own even more car companies. One of Fiat’s existing brands – Alfa Romeo has shown figures that go completely against the trend of current auto sales figures.

In a UK market that’s 28.5% down on 2008, March and April’s new registration statistcis from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that Alfa saw not only a positive swing in new car sales, but recorded industry-leading restults each month. April alone saw a massive 76.8% increase.

This would certainly explain why I’ve seen a lot more Alfa Romeo cars overtake me on my way down a certain Kent motorway and an increasing amount of MiTos about. But what are they doing that the other car companies aren’t. 

Well, the MiTo is certainly part of their success, the small and compact little runner put them into a demographic they’d thus far avoided and did for them what the 500 did for Fiat earlier in the year. When all is doom and gloom in the media they’ve been pushing chirpy and cheerful ads for bright red, fun-looking cars. 

With more exciting new cars to come, I for one hope that Alfa continue to see success especially as the Fiat / Chrylser deal will see them finally tackle the U.S market where the beefed up MiTo would take on the Mini.

I get the impression now that board meetings at Fiat are starting to resemble a Pinky and the Brain cartoon with CEO Sergio Marchionne uttering the famous words “try to take over the world!”fiat

In motoring terms, Monday could see them get a whole lot closer as Machionne is set to meet German economic and foreign ministers in Berlin to go over Fiat’s offer for Opel/Vauxhall. It’s been less than a week since the Italian car company – who’s marques include Alfa Romeo and Ferrari (!) – confirmed it’s in talks to buy most of GM’s European operations in a deal that may yet include Saab too.

Given that they look to take huge chunk of Chrylser, and to do so without fronting any cash, thus putting them in  a perfect position to take their products State side, and if the deal to acquire Opel is given the go ahead then they’d create a company with a turnover of an estimated $105 billion in annual revenue and a whole lot of cars. 

When Chrysler emerges from the current dust it’s under,Sergio Marchionne has already announced that he’ll be the new CEO there too. Not only that, but it’s predicted they’ll be out of bankruptcy in less than 60 days. 

Here I have to wonder if it means there’ll be any significant changes. Whilst locally its certain to mean that we’ll see a lot more Chyrslers on the roads in Kent as they move from Fiat dealers, will the Opel takeover mean amalglamating Vauxhall and Fiat dealers into one giant forecourt or losing dealerships somewhere to cut costs?

Either way, I still find it amusing given that it’s only been 4 years since GM paid $2 billion to get out of a partnership with Fiat and are now looking to get a stake in the company as part of the deal for the European (and possibly Latin American) operations.

Finally, some footage of the the beefed-up MiTo:

 

This is the first official footage of the new Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA, with the Italian car maker using the beauty of Valencia, the historical motoring pedigree of the Giulia GTA and what looks like some awesome handling to showcase what is sure to be one of the best hot hatches to ever hit roads. Though why it’s not a red MiTo I don’t know.

What do you think: serious contender for best hot hatch ever?