Originally Posted by jozza
Sakis,thanks a lot for your interesting comments.
What you said about the new jts/twinphaser engines as being more Alfa Romeo now than those of the past is very interesting.A lot of people complain about the look of the new engine and i have to admit i am one of them.But as you say the technology used is a throwback to pre-Fiat days.So the question is has Fiat done more harm than good to Alfa Romeo since it took over the reigns.And has it finally made good on it's promises to return Alfa Romeo to it's roots.
Many alfisti accuse Fiat for last 10 years AR’s image...but they really don’t know history .Our difference is that I don’t base my knowledge in books of Tabucchi,Fusi etc (that coppy previous writers or in traditions without make a serious quest) but I search history in every aspect….cause AR’s history has extension in other branches of medieval/roman period.Anyway lets get to the point of Fiat-AR connection.
There are books on the matter, not always objective point of views... I'll try to give you a quick insight about Fiat and AR connection.
Giuseppe Busso (I've met him a few months ago, he's 93 on a wheelchair, and signed his autobiography) has been adamant to build a fwd Alfa since his very first day with the company in the 30s (with the Aeroplane division).
At the time it was like talking of ufos, so better times would come.
When he was appointed head of the projectual division, in the mid 60s, the idea was still in his mind, and after a few years project 103 was developed, body similar to Giulia, but smaller, part of the mechanical originated from Renault.
The project was way ahead of its time (most mid/small size cars were rwd) and both simple and sofisticated. Busso and his team believed in the simplicity and morereliabiity of this solution.
Only there was no resources enough to implement a mass production and more important projects had priority.
When Hruska came back to Alfa he was assigned the project of what will become Alfasud, so called for the new plant in Pomigliano (Naples), especially built from IRI (government owned) to increase employment in the rural south. Busso was disappointed that the project had not been assigned to him, but he recognizes Hruskw was a very good engineer.
The result, Alfasud as we know it, was a superb project mechanically, but it suffered from rust and bad assembling. Both were due to bad management of the production lines and stocks (close to the sea!!).
You must be aware of the fact that at the time state owned comanies in Italy had huge problems with workers: people faking to work, purposely sabotaging the lines, stealing parts and components to sell on the black market and so on.
The problem was much worse in Pomigliano, were politicians, just to get more votes, hired "pigs and dogs" as we say, people with no experience and no education to work.…all these are not Fiat workers!!!
The same problem will arise later in the nest 5/10 years in Arese, where unions were so strong to let workers totally compromise the factory.
They were people performing their own business as barbers, newssellers, private mechanics, ON THE BUILDING LINES, inside the factory.
A state employee could not be fired, no matter what... and they exploited the situation.
In 1984 Alfa was losing up to 300€ x car produced and sold because of bad management.
On the technical side, they had "drawers full of future projects" ahead of times once again (4wd as we see it now before audi, evolution of phaser as bmw 15 yrs later), but there was no money and no political will - te company had become a milkcow to suck money from. When Ford came out and offered 4 billion USD (1985/6) the obsolete italian establishment (with Romano Prodi at the wheel) managed under the desk to have Fiat offer half the price, and eventually the give it to the turin giants for nothing, with the motto "no foreings on Italian grounds..."
You must know the there always had been a bitter rivalry between Arese and Turin, they hated each other. Most old management in turin could not believe they could annihilate the old enemy,sth that does not happen nowadays with Luca di Montezemolo in head that many times has attacked in Bmw.
Alfa left US markets in 1996 for many reasons: fiat didn't want to spend money on it, it was a cost only to keep the channel open, models were not suitable for the market besides old old spider, and sales were inefficient and not profitable.
The economical problems of Alfa before fiat see above, after fiat are a group problem: in the mid 90s the family (Agnelli) tryed to pull out of car industry, diversifying with many other businesses. Most went bad, and the final stroke was EDF the french energy company they wanted to acquire... a blood bath!!...fiat wanted to become a conglomerate like general electric but as a result it had losses in automotive sector.
The car business was left afloat with no real ijection of resources and ideas. The worst management of all time (Cantarella) finished the job...
So everything started from government connection between workers and state in late 70es before Fiat get involved…then people who were in head of AR from 70es until 1986 didn’t have the right experience/knowledge to inspire and to lead.Don’t forget that AR was many years national company and their workers had bad attidute sth that IRI wanted cause of their votes……Unfortunately some workers continue working with the same attitude and low productivity and the result is as we know it after fiat takeover…..so they were fired from Luca and I don’t care if this sounds tough but they get what they deserved!I don’t present everything like a fairy tale but as things happened and I don’t afford injustice,preconception and imprecision!
AR is back.....
8c spider was presented in pebble beach concours of elegance wich is one of the three most important elegance contests (concours of elegance) and the main feature was AR……AR is one of the few companies that can be the main feature of such exhibitions.
Audi/Bmw or even Porsche never were the main feature of such contest despite Bmw is one of those events defrayer.
8c competizione’s deliveries will start in 2007.The upcoming flaghship of AR (169-2008) will also be RWD (4door coupe of 5m based in maserati quattroporte’s platform/transaxle).Fiat headquarters think of the new generation of 159/sportwagon/brera/spider (2012) to be RWD but is very early to speak about.
After 8c’s production we will soon see a race version of 8c for GT and the next goal for AR is the return in Le Man.