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4 to the floor: The 4C mid-engined sportscar will land in Australia in early 2014 ahead of the next-generation Spider that is being co-developed with Mazda.

Alfa Romeo banks on sports-car heritage for future model push in Australia

15 Feb 2013

THE Fiat Chrysler Group’s rapid expansion in Australia continues with confirmation of a number of new models for the Alfa Romeo brand, including the mid-engined 4C sports car.

At an event to announce an overhaul of pricing and a repositioning of their Italian brands, the Fiat Chrysler Group confirmed that the highly anticipated 4C will arrive in Australia in early 2014, around six months after it goes on sale in Europe.

Anticipation has been building for the 4C since it was revealed in concept form at the Geneva show in 2011.

Lotus-esque proportions matched with a 1.75-litre direct-injected turbo four-cylinder engine, will keep Alfisti excited when the production-ready version of the 4C has its public debut at Geneva in early March this year.

Claiming the 4C “looks like a mini Ferrari”, Fiat Chrysler product strategy director Alex Tam said he was excited about what the car could do for Alfa Romeo in Australia.

“I think this is one of those cars that people are looking forward to, just as much as people looked forward to drive the (Toyota) 86 or any Ferrari that comes out because of the heritage we have with the Alfa Romeo brand and the sports car element,” he said.

26 center imageFrom top: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Mito.

Mr Tam said that motoring enthusiasts and potential customers are enthusiastic about the release of the 4C.

“The weight is less than 1000kg, acceleration less than five seconds, all carbon-fibre tub so it is going to be very light weight,” he said.

“Think of a go-kart with bigger wheels and more technology. When you see it you will go ‘wow’.” Alfa Romeo will provide more wow factor with the return of the Spider nameplate in 2015, although timing for an Australian release is not yet known.

The drop-top Spider is being co-developed by Alfa Romeo and Japanese car-maker Mazda, and as well as wearing the iconic Spider badge will also see life as the next-generation MX-5 roadster.

Another new model for Alfa in 2015 will be the mid-size Giulia sedan that replaces the 159 that was discontinued in Australia in June 2012.

Little is known about the Giulia at this stage, but Mr Tam confirmed that it was under consideration for the Australian market.

“It’s certainly under our radar. There is a big secrecy around that car at the moment and one thing I do know about the organisation is that … they want to make sure the car is right before they show it to the world.

Mr Tam said Fiat-Chrylser CEO Sergio Marchionne had already confirmed that the Giulia was in feasibility studies to ensure it was the best possible replacement for the 159, and that the Australian arm was doing its own research into the car.

“We are also doing our homework to see if that car, based on this price, based on this equipment level, based on the emotional appeal of this particular car, whether it is going to be competitive,” he said.

Mr Tam confirmed that a facelifted version of the Mito hatch range would arrive in Australia in late 2013 or early 2014, while the larger Giulietta hatch would also receive an update in early 2014.

Without going into detail, Mr Tam said a number of new Giulietta variants would be on the way over the next 12 months.

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