Kjbnkj on 2040-cars
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Alfa Romeo Spider for Sale
Auto blogFri, 26 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST
We love Motor Trend's annual World's Greatest Drag Race video. Now back for its fourth appearance, the idea of lining some of the world's fastest cars up for a ten-wide, straight-line, full-throttle run is, well... it's pretty freaking badass.
The lineup this year boasts some impressively fast cars to be sure. The group of ten includes the following darlings: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW i8, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Subaru WRX STI and, last but not least, the Volkswagen GTI. Give us any one of those for the weekend, and we're happy to take the keys.
It must be said though, that for a publication that draws as much water as Motor Trend does, there are some big cars that we might expect to be here instead. The Lamborghini Huracán or Ferrari 458 Speciale would have added some exotic flare to the list, and the omissions of the Chevy Corvette Stingray (for the second year in a row) and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are real head-scratchers.
A report in Bloomberg adds more details to the plans for Alfa Romeo's fourth turnaround plan in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's tenure, and this time Ferrari is apparently going to be part of the show. In December Automotive News Europe reported that a new Maserati-derived rear-drive architecture would be the centerpiece at Alfa Romeo, as well as coming Chrysler and Dodge products. At the time, ANE said the platform would support a new midsize sedan and wagon perhaps to be called Giulia, a fullsize sedan and a midsize crossover, with retail appearance of the product initiative commencing perhaps as soon as next year. It would be part of Fiat's $12.3-billion spend on new models and European recovery.
The Bloomberg report says that particulars haven't been finalized, but the plan is to have six new Alfas appear over the next five years, two of which would be SUVs. The futures of the Mito and Giulietta, two of the three cars Alfa currently sells and 99 percent of sales last year, aren't assured, meaning that the lineup in six years could be seven cars (including the 4C), six of which we haven't any definitive clue of yet. The top-tier versions of those cars, according to the report - perhaps the Quadrifoglio Verde - "will be equipped with motors developed by Ferrari."
Marchionne wants to get sales up to 300,000 units per year when the lineup is complete, pairing Alfa sales with Jeep's global dealer network to open up the retail channel. That kind of volume would get Fiat's Italian plants back in business properly, even though Marchionne's stance on Italy-only Alfa production would mean the end of the anticipated roadster that was to be twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5 Miata. Alfa's direction will be laid out in Detroit in May as part of the overall strategy presentation for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
According to Edmunds, Mazda engineers are pressuring the company to create more rear-wheel-drive models, in an effort to better differentiate itself from its rivals. This push is reportedly coming from middle and senior engineers within the company, and these folks at Mazda believe this rear-drive strategy would allow the automaker to produce more distinctive, fun to drive cars. Mazda discontinued the rear-drive (and rotary-engined) RX-8 a few years ago, leaving the MX-5 Miata as the company's only RWD offering.
As enthusiasts, we're fully on board with Mazda offering more rear-drive cars, but unsurprisingly, the company's top management isn't exactly keen on the idea - and with good reason. First and foremost, the cost associated with redesigning fresh architecture for new models would be very high, and considering the fact that Mazda hasn't exactly been raking in the dough lately, an expensive new venture like this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. What's more, Mazda's latest front-drive models - the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 - have been very well-received, and are helping the company gain sales momentum.
But that doesn't mean there aren't other options. Edmunds reminds us that Mazda is already partnering with Alfa Romeo on the next-generation Miata, and if this collaboration is successful, perhaps the relationship could bear additional fruit. After all, Alfa Romeo is said to be working on returning to its rear-wheel-drive roots, so Mazda's engineers might be able to make a case for more RWD goodness after all.