More awards for Fiat cars across the globe

Posted in Fiat

More awards for Fiat cars across the globe
It’s not just the remarkable new Fiat 500 that is winning awards for the Fiat Group across the world. As the stylish new city car was scooping the prestigious Car of the Year 2008 title, two other Fiat models were also displaying winning ways.

In Brazil, the Fiat Grande Punto has been elected Carro do Ano 2008 by a panel of 37 journalists from the country’s national specialist press. It’s the most prestigious accolade in the Brazilian automotive industry and was comfortably won this year – the Grande Punto scored 235 compared with the Citroen C4’s 208 points, Nissan Sentra’s 152, Renault Logan’s 146 and the Chevrolet Vectra GT’s 134.

And now the Fiat brand has brought home the coveted AUTOBEST 2008 award with its Linea model. The title’s international media jury was made up of specialist journalists from 15 European countries including Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Romania, Russia and Turkey, demonstrating the versatile C-segment saloon’s cosmopolitan appeal.

With a winning points total of 850, the Linea again finished in a commanding position. The second-placed Kia C’eed managed 784 points while third-placed Mazda 2 scored 705. Skoda’s Fabia scored 679 while the Toyota Auris was awarded 583.

The tough AUTOBEST award is made from a final shortlist of five cars on the basis of 13 elements including design, comfort, economy, driveability, price and value for money.

These latest two impressive accolades join the many others that the Fiat 500 has received during the final months of 2007. These include Car of the Year 2008, Auto Europa 2008, EuroCarBody 2007, Auto Trophy, Fifth Gear Car of the Year, and CAR Car of the Year.

The Fiat 500 has also just been voted best City Car in the BBC Top Gear Awards 2007.

Source: Fiat

Fiat 500 M Sports Kit by Monaco Elite

Posted in Fiat

Fiat 500 M Sports Kit by Monaco Elite
Monaco Elite Design present their expertly-crafted city chic Fiat 500 M, with a sports package that transforms the classic model inside and out to that full of colour and perfected forms. This is a ‘high fashion’ city car ‘masterpiece’ from Monaco Elite, who take style and technical function to be of the upmost precedence.

After varied development exercises based on motorbikes, scooters and exotic cars, the Fiat 500 M adopts black matt paint and hand-crafted detailing, with styling additions including 16″ alloys, aluminium front and rear grills, and widened arches. The extensive kit also includes sport set up, double sport exhaust and an electronic power chip. Performance improvements remain unpublished.

The interior cabin features the warm feeling of a ‘Dark Tobacco’ leather trim upholstery. While a further 12 matt exterior colours will be available, they will not be specifiable until early next year.

The enhancements go on sale packaged as the external conversion for 6,600 euros and the interior trimming at 2,000 euros. Cars are available with a three week delivery time.
Fiat 500 M Sports Kit by Monaco Elite

ALFA ROMEO PLANS UNITED STATES FACTORY

Posted in Alfa Romeo

ALFA ROMEO PLANS UNITED STATES FACTORY
Alfa Romeo is planning to build cars at a new factory in North America, a strategy that Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne sees as vital to making the planned US relaunch become long-term profitable. His comments came in a wide ranging interview given in Automotive News Europe yesterday.

The current falling value of the US dollar is prompting Europe’s leading automakers to consider building new factories in the United States. Europe’s biggest automaker, Volkswagen Group, is evaluating plans to built a plant in the US; it was the first of the modern Europeans to have an assembly plant in North America but shut it 20 years ago after it struggled to turn in a profit. Meanwhile prestige European brands, Mercedes-Benz and BMW both have successful stateside factories, while other European mass-market automakers considering building US plants include PSA Peugeot-Citroën.

In the ANE interview Marchionne said that the US relaunch of Alfa Romeo would rack up a loss for the first three or four years, due to competitive pressures and the weakness of the dollar against the strength of the euro. “It was already expensive when the dollar was 1.10 to the euro; now it is more expensive,” he told ANE.

Referring to a new Alfa Romeo factory Marchionne told ANE: “Mid to long term, I have no doubt we will have to produce in the NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] area to sell at a profit in the US.” The NAFTA members are made up of the United States, Mexico and Canada. This in fact wouldn’t be the Fiat Group’s first automotive factory in the US as in 1909 it opened a plant in Poughkeepsie, located 75 miles north of New York City, although it ceased operations a decade later.

Marchionne also told ANE yesterday that his previous interest in buying the Land Rover and Jaguar brands that Ford has recently put up for sale was parly motivated by the forthcoming Alfa Romeo stateside relaunch. He was interested at the time in Land Rover’s US distribution network and Jaguar’s architecture and powertrains. He said that both under Fiat ownership would have been used to the benefit of Alfa Romeo.

“At the same time, we felt we would not be able to manage the Jaguar and Land Rover brands while also leading the proper execution of the Fiat Group Automobiles re-launch plan,” he commented. However he said he was ready to discuss possible future cooperation with the new owners of Land Rover and Jaguar, which are being sold off together. India’s Tata Motors, with whom Fiat already have a wide ranging industrial joint venture, and are a leading contender to come out as the new owners. Fiat has been advising Tata on its bid.
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Luca de Meo announced as new Alfa Romeo CEO

Posted in Alfa Romeo

Luca de Meo announced as new Alfa Romeo CEO
According to emerging reports, Luca De Meo is being appointed as the new chief executive of Alfa Romeo, succeeding Antonio Baravalle who recently announced his departure.

De Meo is credited with the recent rejuvenation of the Fiat brand, overseeing the introduction of the enormously successful Grande Punto, followed by the new Bravo and most recently the hot new 500 retro-hatch. The industry was shocked when De Meo stepped down as Fiat brand CEO just a few months ago to assume a new position in the parent company as Chief Marketing Officer for the entire Fiat Group. De Meo will be retaining the marketing position in addition to his new responsibilities as head of Alfa Romeo, while keeping his third post as head of the Abarth division, which he launched during his tenure as Fiat brand CEO.

With the new appointment, it becomes all the more clear that Luca De Meo is being groomed to take over from Fiat Group chief Sergio Marchionne, whom he succeeded as Fiat brand CEO and remains the only one with more responsibilities in the Fiat empire than De Meo (with the possible exception of his namesake Luca di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari, chairman of the Fiat Group and head of industrial alliance Confindustria).

As Marchionne pointed out, the duality of De Meo’s positions put him “in the ideal position” to spearhead Alfa Romeo’s imminent return to the North American market.

[Source: Italiaspeed]

New Alfa Romeo MINI Killer En Route

Posted in Alfa Romeo

New Alfa Romeo MINI Killer En Route
After acquiring plans and sketches for a new MINI Cooper killer AutoWeek magazine in the Netherlands published these artist’s renderings of the future model. The Alfa Romeo Junior will be unveiled to the public at the next Geneva autoshow.

Alfa Romeo is expected to produce 75,000 of the model per year, putting it in direct competition with the Audi A1 and the MINI Cooper.

Priced in the 20,000 Euro range – quite a bit more than its competition – the Alfa Romeo Junior should get a 1.4 liter engine with an optional turbo charger, producing between 104 and 178 horsepower, according to the magazine. A 1.8 liter turbo maxing out at 227 horespower shuould see production come up as well as a 1.6 liter JTD diesel engine banging out anywhere from 118 to 148 ponies. We had hoped this car would have rear wheel drive, but that is likely not the case.

The three-door Junior should be in the area of four meters long, making it 22.3 centimeters shorter than the Alfa Romeo 147. As the magazine points out, the renderings also show some styling touches from the 145, with tail lights originating on the 8C Competizione.

The car is expected to hit production in Spring 2008, and land on Italian showroom floors in June. Other European countries should be able to take deliveries in the fall. Rumor has it a convertible Alfa Junior may be on the way as well.

Playboy Crowns the Hottest Cars of 2008

Posted in Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Volvo

Playboy Crowns the Hottest Cars of 2008
Which cars will be turning heads on the street this year? According to Playboy’s “2008 Cars of the Year,” a high-performance hybrid surges past competitors, a European import squeezes to the top, and a luxury carmaker provides one of the most fuel efficient and affordable vehicles on the road. The selected cars were chosen by an expert team of automotive writers who traveled the world and test drove every new model hitting the showroom floor this year. The vehicles were taken on the sharpest turns, most challenging curves, and the steepest hills to properly separate the superlative from the mediocre. The vehicles featured in Playboy’s January issue (on newsstands December 7) include:

PLAYBOY’S 2008 CAR OF THE YEAR: Audi R8

This mid engine sexpot boasts a 420 bhp, 4.2-liter V8, and hits zero to 60 in a sexy 4.4 seconds

BEST LUXURY SPORTS COUPE: Maserati GranTurismo

Features a 405 bhp, 4.2-liter double overhead cam V8 packs 339 foot-pounds of torque

SMARTEST PURCHASE: Smart Fortwo

Sits eight feet by eight inches long and weighs a whopping 1,807 pounds

BEST SPORTS SEDAN: Cadillac CTS

With a base engine of a 3.6-liter V6 that develops 263bhp, it is just as quick as the CTS-V

BEST SUV: Land Rover LR2

Equipped with a Terrain Response feature that adjusts the AWD and suspension for driving conditions

BEST CROSSOVER: Buick Enclave CXL

Proudly sits on 19-inch wheels and is available with a luxury package including articulated headlights

BEST CONVERTIBLE: BMW 335i

Not only does it whip from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds, its light-weight steel top retracts in 22 seconds

BEST EARTH-DAY CAR: Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec

Outfitted with three catalysts and a filter in the exhaust that erases every trace of smoke and N2O

BEST PINT-SIZE PERFORMANCE: Volvo C30

Dances on the sporty side with its full-width glass hatch and clipped Manx bobtail

Go to http://www.playboy.com/caroftheyear for criteria used to select these cars, an extended photo gallery, and a chance to vote for your favorite machine of 2008.

Source: Playboy