Lancia Motor Club

General => General Chat => Topic started by: lee69 on 30 September, 2010, 09:08:06 PM

Title: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: lee69 on 30 September, 2010, 09:08:06 PM
Reports abound today about the rumoured sell off of Alfa Romeo to the VW group. Where do we think this will leave Lancia within the new shape Fiat empire? I suppose it removes some of the confusing overlap between the two marques and could leave space within the Fiat portfolio that Lancia could fill.


Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fensaddler on 30 September, 2010, 10:06:04 PM
The rumours have been doing the rounds for a long while.  It seems slightly odd, given that Alfa now genuinely is beginning to put together a strong, potentially profitable model range - but then perhaps that is the time to sell?  I'd be worried for Seat though, as Seat has always aimed to be VW Group's Alfa - and I can't see Alfa being positioned as a premium competitor to Audi, as Fiat would want it to be.  But Lancia and Chrysler are merging, so stranger things have happened.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: neil-yaj396 on 01 October, 2010, 06:43:49 AM
Funny one this. I can see how shifting Alpha might help Fiat, but I don't see how it's aquisition would help VW. Alpha compete with them in all their ranges, except possibly Skoda.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 01 October, 2010, 07:04:58 AM

It seems to me that no matter what the VW group purchases be it Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda etc VW always manage to market it just right and give the majority of the car buying public what they believe they want. All their product ranges overlap and all sell well too, something Fiat could well learn to understand, buying Alfa would be a coup for VW they would have no problems sorting out any lingering reliability, after sales service and residual woes and expand on Alfa's current and ever improving product range.

Having said all this I do not believe that Fiat would sell Alfa Romeo to VW, from what is being in alfisti circles at the moment.
Who really knows though? Stranger things have happened!

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: lee69 on 01 October, 2010, 08:09:03 PM
Perhaps VW and Fiat should just swap Alfa and SEAT, then we'd have the delight of seeing slightly different looking but poorly built Spanish equivalents to the current Fiat range - they could call them Marbella, Ronda, Malaga etc.....

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fensaddler on 01 October, 2010, 10:09:37 PM
I have to concede, Mr Proudfoot, that that was rather funny.    ::)

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: toby2449 on 02 October, 2010, 07:21:00 PM

VW clearly want to buy Alfa, but (at the moment) Marchoinne doesn't want to sell. Although part of me would hate to see Alfa being sold to VW, i can't help but think VW would do a better job of running Alfa. I'm part of an Alfa Owners Forum (owning a 166), & this topic is doing the rounds on the forum, i think whilst alot of people want Alfa to remain under Fiat control, an awful lot of owners now see just how mis-managed Alfa is under Fiat control. Alfa should be able to fight Audi, BMW, Merc for market share, but poor management, poor products (159/Brera/Spider spring to mind), models have far too long life spans (10 yrs for the 147!!), & very poor product planning (long breaks between 164 & 166, 166 died a few years ago, no replacement, no replacement to GT etc..) VW could turn Alfa into a proper premium product, lets be honest i doubt they'd do a worse job than Fiat. And lets remember Fiat didn't even want Alfa, the only reason it bought Alfa was to stop Ford getting its hands on Italian production capacity.

If Alfa is sold to VW (& i think it will be, FGA products across the board are tanking sales wise, & FGA need a capital injection from somewhere!) This could be very good news for Lancia, it could finally get the attention it so badly deserves, & finally after many years of under funding get the money it needs to put new products into showrooms!

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fensaddler on 02 October, 2010, 07:52:06 PM
I can see why a VW takeover would make sense for Alfa, but what I can't work out is how it would fit for VW?  I've long said that what Alfa desperately needs to do is produce a genuine Scirocco competitor as a replacement for the GT (and it could easily do so on the Giulietta platform) but why would VW want to create competition for its own models, or for others in its group of marques?  Unless, of course, they can see a budget sporty (youth and funky) role for Seat, and a premium sporty for Alfa (for grown ups), but even that doesn't really hang together, and I still see a well run Alfa as too much direct competition both for VW and Audi products.  However, Fiat does need to see a return on its money on Alfa - in comparison Lancia has survived on buttons, and actually performed better, in pure commercial terms.  That is why the Mito, Giulietta (in particular) and the forthcoming Giulia really are make or break for the marque.  And if Alfa goes to VW, and Lancia gets the investment as Fiat's sporty/premium mainstream brand, what happens to the Chrysler/Lancia merger?  No, I think Marchionne will stick to his guns for now and not sell.  But don't rule out a sale if Alfa bombs again, if the Chrysler-Lancia merger proves to be a pup, and Marchionne is jetisonned as a consequence.  Then the strategy will be reworked and Alfa may be sold - but for now, no.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: toby2449 on 03 October, 2010, 09:28:13 AM
one very good reason why VW might want to buy Alfa....generally (again going on the owner forum group of people) people who buy Alfa's would never buy anything German, ever! Personally i'd never buy German, they're just not me! However if VW took over Alfa & kept the Alfa spirit/styling etc....but produced cars that were competitive then i'd buy one! So i reckon it wouldn't hurt Audi/VW sales, but might just close SEAT!

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 03 October, 2010, 12:44:58 PM
Alfa products over the last 20 years, have been better than Lancias full stop. They have continually sold in RHD markets. In this period, apart from the integrale, Lancia have only just got back to producing good cars once again, think Ypsilon 2, Thesis, Delta 3. Everything in between Dedra, Kappa, Zeta, Ypsilon, Musa, Lybra, Delta 2 & Phedra have been so-so average vehicles with no identities (sorry), only Italians and die hards have continued to purchase them.

Alfa have only just been better, but every model from the 916 GTV/156 era has been good, they all look the part which is the initial attraction (unlike recent Lancias) and have sold in acceptable numbers. Quality pre 159/Brera has still been suspect, as has reliability, after sales and resale values (Just like all Fiat groups) but they  have to and are improving. Fiat or VW will undoubtedly see to this but it won't happen overnight.

My Brera is by far the best quality Italian car I have owned of which there have been 3 Alfa's, 2 Ferrari's, 4 Fiat's and 8 Lancia's, it has also been more reliable and better screwed together than both my 2004 Audi A4 & 2007 A6 and my 2001 BMW 320d too.

As for a competitor to the Scirroco, Alfa have always had this from the Alfetta GT & GTV's of the 70/80's, the 916 GTV of the 90/00's and now the Brera, the problem for VW was the intoduction of the Audi TT which sold against the 916 & Brera, so VW had to re pitch the Scirrocco lower as a Golf Coupe which that's all it is.

Lancia should seize this market for a new Fulvia (etta) to undercut the next Brera and take on the Scirrocco in this increasing new market.

Alfa like Lancia needs to stay in Italy, Fiat have to address this, sort all current issues and if they look at VW they can market all their products right, overlap as necessary just as VW does with Skoda/Seat/VW, VW/Audi etc and should be able to keep everyone happy.

If Lancia ever return to the UK, badged as Lancia no matter who owns them, I will buy one, end of story. If they do not and Alfa stay regardless of who owns them, I will buy one of them and keep purchasing classic Lancia's too.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fensaddler on 03 October, 2010, 06:35:35 PM
Alfa quality may have been better for a while, but in terms of both residuals and sales (and from my experience, albeit on one car, fundamental, bullet proof reliability - we as enthusiasts may put up with the false warnings of impending doom from Alfa warning lights, but others will not) they have been underperforming.  Even the 159 has only just become the car is threatened to be, now that it has the new range of engines, and even now, it is far too heavy, and consequently, too thirsty and too dull unless you have a high powered version (in which case, of course, its still too thirsty).  The Mito has performed well in sales terms, its residuals are as yet uncertain, but don't look too bad, but even it arrived to market with poorly sorted dynamics - an absolutely critical failing for an Alfa.  Only with the Giulietta have Alfa - finally - hit the nail on the head, with a car which is the right price, looks good, has sorted dynamics, and the right balance of performance and economy.  So finally Alfa has a package which is a genuine match for its VW rival, the Golf.  At last, the Alfa can be chosen with the head, and not just the heart.  But previously, Alfas have been bought outside Italy by exactly the same die hards that have stuck to Lancia.

The Brera, and previous GTVs etc, absolutely have not been competitors in the same market as the current Scirocco - they are more expensive, and at best 2+2s, or strict 2 seaters (and moreover, the Brera may be pretty, but the dispassionate view is that it handles like a tugboat compared to its peers - on this I can only take the view of the press, I haven't driven one, or indeed its main competitors).  What Alfa need is a full four seater coupe, pitched at Scirocco prices (ie entry level of around 19-20k), and genuinely fully competitive on economy, performance and dynamics.  The GT was in that market, but was old hat in its technology - too thirsty and with awful residuals - in particular.  I know, because I compared it to the Scirocco as a company car purchase, and that thirst (and hence poor CO2 figures) and depreciation made it far too expensive against the Scirocco as a company car - and that's before factoring in that the Scirocco handles better, is better equipped and screwed together, and looks at least as good.  To damn it as merely a Golf Coupe is to underestimate what VW have achieved (because they have made a car which is not only prettier than the Golf, and which handles better, but which costs no more, is equally fuel efficient, and still seats four adults comfortably).  And the frustration for me is that this is exactly the market niche where Alfa or Lancia should be, and where VW are cleaning up (and other nimbler marques are piling in with their lookalikes - but not, apparently, Alfa or Lancia).

The Fiat Group are ahead with the Multiair engines, and their diesels are amongst the best - and in some niches - with the Giulietta and the 500 for example - they are class leaders.  But across the whole range, I'd argue that the VW Group are still well ahead, and are still the outfit to beat.  They set the standard which Fiat have to match and exceed, and to suggest anything else is at least to put heart, and marque loyalty, over practical considerations of how good the cars actually are, and how well they perform in business terms.  Marchionne is a hard nosed businessman, and he will judge the performance of each marque by these unyielding parameters.  In the end, that may mean we get better cars, including better Alfas and Lancias.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 03 October, 2010, 07:43:05 PM
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and can also choose with their heart rather than there heads if they wish. They earn their money and take their choice, to which I have no problem.

If you want a Scirocco, thats fine, by all accounts it is a good car and looks well too, however from my point of view I will always be a die hard Lancia fan, but in an era where RHD is not available, I will always turn to Fiats group products before straying to the likes of audi & BMW which have let me down big style both from a relability issue and believe it or not resale values too!, so Alfa is the obvious next choice.

Yes model for model the Brera is heavier and slower and less economical than a TT (or with its latest engines the Scirocco too), however IMHO it is much classier, does not get doted on by hairdressers and has the attitude common with all its forebearers. The peoples car can never acheive this, it has no heritage or traditional values and by and large (with no disrespect to anyone reading) is bought by people who just want a solid, boring, reliable ,dependable vehicle and you allegedly get a little bit more back when you sell it. That is not for me, I love my Brera like I have loved all my Italian cars despite some woes and will never go back to German again- don't tell the wife though she loves her Merc.

Your'e right the new 1750 TBi and 2.0JTDm engines are cracking units and undercut both the 3.2JTS & 2.4JTDm engines without significant power loss and considerably better efficiency into the bargain, it will be interesting to see how these compare with the Scirocco, although the outcome for Italian cars in the motoring press is always -no matter how good they are- second best to VAG or BMW products.

Moving back to title of this post though, there is room in the VW group for Alfa Romeo, whatever they touch turns to gold, AR will fit in with Seat/VW/Audi and they will all compliment one another well, VW will understand exactly the type of person who buys an Alfa Romeo and will market it to keep existing AR drivers, plus people from BMW, Porsche & Mercedes Benz who would otherwise feel VW's too boring, Seat no heritage, Skoda no Kudo's and Audi too sensible for them and they will also remember not too long ago say 35 years when all these VW brands were in a poorer league.

If Fiat do not sell out AR to VW, they need to completely regroup and remember what all there brands- AR, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia & Maserati traditionally stood for and re market to suit, but will certainly need to get exactly the right quality products out with the right aftersales and hopefully Chrysler can help out here without losing any of these super marques names.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fay66 on 03 October, 2010, 11:44:58 PM
"Alfa products over the last 20 years, have been better than Lancias full stop. They have continually sold in RHD markets. In this period, apart from the integrale, Lancia have only just got back to producing good cars once again, think Ypsilon 2, Thesis, Delta 3. Everything in between Dedra, Kappa, Zeta, Ypsilon, Musa, Lybra, Delta 2 & Phedra have been so-so average vehicles with no identities (sorry), only Italians and die hards have continued to purchase them."

without wishing to be rude, and as you so rightly say, "everyone is entitled to their opinion," but unless you've owned all these lancia models you denigrate, then I don't think you are in any position to make such a statement, as for Alfa's over the last 20 years being better than Lancia's, you've obviously forgotten the Alfa 33 and the 155. As for Alfa's outselling RHD Lancia, big deal, since Lancia haven't sold RHD cars since 1994, a Fiat policy decision. But I suggest that you look at the sales figures for all of Europe for Dedra, not just Italy, another fact you might not be aware of is that Dedra had at least 2 minor facelifts after 1994, and was sold right up to the introduction of Lybra that replaced it in 1999.
You also seem to forget that until the 156 was introduced, there were no credible Alfas in the UK, although I like the 156 (the styling was superb) and many of the models that followed, the 156 was mechanically badly flawed, particularly as far as longevity of running gear was concerned.
A friend has a Brera and loves it but going by the reports I've read  in write ups on the Brera, a lot of the motoring press are less than impressed by the dynamics, but not having driven one myself I wouldn't like to comment, but I do love the styling.

Since 1993 I have owned 5x Dedra's, 2 x Thema Series 3's, and in 1999 I bought a new Y elefantino Rosso from Rotterdam and brought into the UK as a personal import, as well as having driven many of the Lancia's slagged off, how many of these models have you actually owned or driven for more than a few minutes?

As far as Fiat Group is concerned generally, fiat still need to work on consistent quality control, we've just parted, thankfully, with my wife's Motability Grande Punto, that in 3 years has spent 21 days in the dealers for warranty work, talking to many other owners they are completely satisfied, but that's not the case if you have a look at comments on the GP Forum.
We have been so disillusioned by the experience,t hat it's replacement isn't even Italian.

8227 8)

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 04 October, 2010, 07:36:50 AM

I am not here to slag off any of Lancia's or Alfa's products, I have both marques especially Lancia in my blood.

I have owned 8 Lancia's in total, five of which have been post '90 models. Most were brilliant, a couple and in particular a Dedra 2.0ie SE not so brilliant. I covered about 40,000 miles in this car between '92 & '95 and wanted to love it so much, however I can forgive this  & I still have more passion for Lancia than any other manufacture. Indeed I have been a member of this club for 23 constant years and although being quite quiet in Lancia circles (being a northerner & all that)there is no-one who would stick up for our marque more than me when required.

The Dedra despite being marketed as an executive car, never lived up to expectations, it was attractive, well equipped and performed adequately, but its name (in the UK) was against it from the off and in a BMW 3-series and Audi 80/90 territory was way off the pace in quality, after sales were poor, reliability was below par and running costs/residuals not up to scratch either. It is surprising it soldiered on for so long. The Lybra that replaced it was even worse because it looked so awkward, except as a station wagon were it was rather better. Sorry.

I am only being factual, the 33 and 155 were poor Alfa's yes and there have been a few others too that you fail to mention, however there are people who dote on these models just as much as you do on the Dedra, but going back to the subject discussed as long as you cannot buy new RHD Lancia's in the UK, I will choose Alfa Romeo next but will always run a Lancia of some sort too, perhaps a Thema 8.32 next.

This is not mean't to be a slanging match with Dedra or VW owners or anyone else for that matter, as I said before you pays yer money and takes yer choice to which I have no problems, I have just tried to give my opinion on Alfa's future and defended my Brera from the people who have rightly (by owning & driven)or wrongly (read media reports- exactly like the folk who desserted Lancia after the rust scandal in the early eighties) slagged off Alfa's current line up.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: St Volumex on 04 October, 2010, 01:36:11 PM
Selling off Alfa would sure take the pressure off Lancia :) , and perhaps allow them to make something in future of Lancia's racing and rally heritage instead of trying to sell Lancia as a luxury (celebrity, if you look at the Venice film festival) 'brand'.  (I really hate it when marketing people refer to Lancia as a 'brand' - that's about as appealing to me as Harley Davidson coffee and other fake products. >:( )

According to insiders I know at Fiat, the closure of Alfa's Milan plant was all about bad quality which wasn't being addressed, and apparently a bad attitude to change persists at Alfa where they still want to stick to all their old-style stuff (their V6 for one) which we all know isn't working anymore.

Here in SA Alfa products are selling really slowly (10 per month when I last heard) and no wonder.  For the price of an Alfa spyder you can buy an Audi TT Quattro here and still have a bunch of change left over.  While I have admired Alfa at times, the afore-mentioned example makes head sense for me of Alfa vs Audi.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fay66 on 04 October, 2010, 07:26:51 PM

paul same as you I love my lancia's, but can't match your 23 years of ownership.
however, I don't "dote" on Dedra's, as if a car doesn't measure up for me then it will go, even if I regret having to do so as I can't afford to have unreliable vehicles, as the  only Dedra Adviser since 1995 at my own expense, I can assure you that Dedra's are not usually unreliable, and in fact apart for one or 2 recurring problems such as door locks ,and eventually succumbing after best part of 15 years use, to electrical earthing faults, many that are traceable back to corrosion of the battery earth lead beneath the battery tray, so in my experience your 2.0se was the exception rather than the rule, and to be honest the newest one I owned, a 1994 2.0LS, wasn't the most reliable Dedra around, but I believe it's problems were down to previous non Lancia  poor servicing.

As you so rightly pointed out, the main problem was the advertising which was aimed at the wrong market, as apart from performance and "Brio", it was never in the same league as BMW or Audi build quality,  but it was a darn sight more interesting to drive, especially with the Lampridi counter balanced engined extended, a wonderful soundtrack.
The rest of the problem was due to the undeserved reputation that Lancia had aquirred fron the supposed rust problems with Beta, done to death by the press ,and people like Clarkson, who perpetuated the myth and used it to great effect against Lancia for their own ends, no doubt you as a Beta owner, remember his hatchet job when Lancia pulled out of the RHD market.

8227 8)

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 05 October, 2010, 07:25:12 AM


I concur with everything you say and wish my Dedra experience had been better, I so wanted it to be, when it was launched in 1989 the first reports were fabulous, even What Car? stated "Lancia is back, the Dedra oozes quality & desirability" in its July edition, however it soon change its mind upon RHD production when comparing the 2.0ie SE (incidently the actual car that I owned) against a 320i SE and Audi 90 in it's June 1990 edition where inevitably the Lancia came last despite being the best value, best equipped, comparable in all other areas too except build quality where it was slated and also previous reputations were brought up along with aftercare too. It is a potential good car trying to get out, an opportunity missed.

It never really stood a chance with the press and the changing hands of ownership, and Lancia marketing did not help either because they could not decide who to market it too was it a Primera competitor or a 190E competitor? Audi/BMW/MB had a prestige market full stop, they did not venture into Sierra territory, they did not need to, perhaps Fiat should have marketed its luxury brand as a 3-series competitor only and kept the Tempra facing the Cavaliers of this world.

This has always been Fiats problem since aquiring Lancia & Alfa, how to market them right, something it has never succeeding in doing, if it doesn't sell Alfa to VW it requires to take a good look at VW, understand and learn how they manage to market their Seat/Skoda/VW/Audi brands- overlapping as required-and all sell well in harmony.

People and especially the media still jump on the bandwagon of unreliability, poor aftersales, rust, residuals when mentioning Italian brands, yet they seem to forget Skoda were the butt of all jokes 20 years ago, Seats used to be Fiats built under licence in Spain, VW started off with Kubelwagens and Beetles as the peoples car (how they rusted), Audi's rusted more than most in the '70's and were nothing more than Cortina & Granada rivals, it was only the success of the quattro and the folllowing branding that saved it. Fiat needs to address this quick.

Paul G.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: Paul Greenway on 05 November, 2010, 08:22:09 AM

Sergio Marchionne stated last week that he was aware of statements made by VAG regarding them wishing to purchase Alfa Romeo in a couple of years time, however he put the rumour to bed and clearly stated that A-R is NOT for sale.

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fay66 on 05 November, 2010, 10:18:56 AM

Sergio Marchionne stated last week that he was aware of statements made by VAG regarding them wishing to purchase Alfa Romeo in a couple of years time, however he put the rumour to bed and clearly stated that A-R is NOT for sale.

Until the price is right?

8227 8)

Title: Re: Auf Wiedersehen Alfa?
Post by: fay66 on 07 November, 2010, 07:29:46 PM
Alan Cooper  an ex Lancia Member who no doubt many know, asked me to post this for him with his views on Lancia's re Alfa.
8227 8)

Saw the Alfa debate on the LMC site and thought I must comment on the claim that Lancia made inferior product to Alfa. Well this was not always the case during the post RHD period, and indeed if it is the case why did Lancia recently outsell Alfa in Europe? I well remember the 100th anniversary celebrations and visiting the Mirafiori customer centre. I visited with an open mind but TBH was astonished by how cheap and nasty all the Alfa product looked compared with the Lancias. I would agree that early Dedras were disappointing but on a personal note I bought a Delta HPE turbo new in 1999 not only was it a quantum leap from the Dedra turbo but that car was a far better adaptation of the common Tipo based platform than the 145 had far superior interior quality and would simply eat a 145 for breakfast on a twisty road. I believe that foolishly Fiat chose to promote Alfa over and above Lancia during this period leading to the relative failure of superior models.The Lybra being a further example of car of outstanding quality well beyond the poundland build of contemporary Alfas. In the UK we also have the disadvantage of a poisoned and prejudiced press who see anything Lancia as 100% negative, they report black as white and often forget just how well Lancia still does in a limited number of markets whilst constantly wishing to see it's blood spilt and funeral arranged. Having said all that rather than end a sad death as a badge engineered Chrysler I think I'd much rather that they did arrange the funeral and sooner rather than later.