By Luca Ciferri, Automotive News
Fiat's on-again, off-again plan to return Alfa Romeo to the United States is on again, this time with a target date of 2012.
A Chrysler Group spokesman has confirmed remarks made by CEO Sergio Marchionne in Toronto.
“I'm a lot more confident now that Alfa Romeo will reconstitute a product offering that is acceptable globally, and more in particular in the United States and Canada,” Marchionne was quoted as saying Friday. “There is a strong likelihood that the brand will be back here within the next 24 months,” press reports said.
Alfa exited the United States in 1995 with a reputation for poor quality.
A 2003 Alfa comeback was announced a decade ago as part of Fiat's alliance with General Motors. That partnership has been since dissolved, and subsequent statements from Fiat executives indicating a return haven't borne fruit.
The new Audi hatch isn't for us, but it should be.
Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep to get Fiat underpinnings
Europe will see the underlying architecture, called Compact Wide, on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, set to debut at the Geneva auto show next month. The Compact Wide platform, which boasts a modular design making it suitable for vehicles of different lengths and wheelbases, will underpin at least seven different Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge models. The first two vehicles will be upcoming replacements for the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Dodge Caliber.
Toyota may offer 10-year warranties, heavy rebates to woo customers
While nothing has been confirmed, the early reports say that the company is mulling over extended warranties -- up to 10 years -- as well as thousands of dollars' worth of rebates on new models, starting in March, as incentives aimed at moving boosting sales and getting the car maker back on track.
By Jamie Lareau, Automotive News
Ford executives told dealers Sunday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla., that the small Mercury is coming in 2011, the same year the Focus arrives. Two dealers who attended the meeting say the car will be called the Mercury Tracer.
"Here in the United States, the trend toward fuel-efficient vehicles is very important, and the trend toward small cars is coming back," Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said after the meeting. "Our strategy is pretty simple: have a broad-based lineup."
Loss-of-control issues affect Tacomas
The news agency got hold of a document sent to U.S. dealers on Thursday outlining the problem, which, unlike the most recent Toyota recalls, has nothing to do with floor mats, stuck accelerator pedals or faulty brakes.
From New York to New Hampshire, traction makes winter better
With a foot of soggy snow on the ground in New York, it’s time again to marvel at what a difference tires and traction can make in winter. First, an example of how not to do it, brought to us by the new Kia Sorento crossover. I assumed this solid, if somewhat retiring, companion was an all-wheel-drive version -- until I tried to escape my snowbound parking lot in Brooklyn. While the Sorento has plenty of family space and all the features you'd expect in its class, including a well-designed touch-screen audio system, it was sorely lacking in the grip department: The Kia moved about 6 feet before its front tires started freewheeling in the snow, proving itself a front-driver fit for Florida beaches, not nor’easters. I was hopelessly stuck, and the Kia’s budget set of Kumho all-season tires sure wasn’t helping. Nor did the Kia feature a limited-slip differential that might have allowed one front wheel to gain purchase when the other started to spin. I ended up recruiting some Good Samaritans to shove the machine back into its space until the lot was dug out.
Next up was Hyundai Elantra Touring, the practical and surprisingly fun-to-drive wagon version of the compact Elantra sedan. The Hyundai was parked around the corner, buried behind a waist-high wall of packed snow, courtesy of the snowplows that make digging out in New York such a special treat. (It’s not really their fault -- there’s so little space to move snow here that trucks also collect it and dump it into the rivers.)
By Pia Krix, Automobilwoche
Audi plans to use the e-tron designation for its electric vehicles.
Audi cars will carry the e-tron logo on their rear, similar to the way models now bear the "quattro" designation.
Audi plans to produce an initial run of 100 units of its e-tron electric sports car at its factory in Ingolstadt, Germany, in 2012. The car was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
An expansion of this small production volume to 1,000 units is planned. No decision has yet been made on where the vehicle will be built long term.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5